We love springtime as much as the next person, but unfortunately many  folks in the northeast are facing yet another blow from the otherwise beautiful weather: a sudden explosion of pollen is here, and along with it a particularly nasty spring allergy season. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but we can already tell that this spring’s weather is going to be wreaking havoc on allergy sufferers in conjunction to the recent new Coronavirus(COVID-19) outbreak. As our Danbury, New Britain and West Hartford urgent care centers are already seeing patients flock in for some allergy relief, we want to show you exactly how to tell the difference and combat the allergy season.

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How to know the difference between spring allergies, Covid-19 and the flu

Many of you are probably confused about the differences between allergies, flu and the new Novel Coronavirus. Before you start running the other way when someone coughs or sneezes,  you should know that the symptoms do differ and knowing the differences will help keep you and your family safe during this time of outbreak and widespread concern.

Let’s break down the symptoms for each illness side by side.

The Flu has made its way around during the winter months and as we’re approaching the end of flu season it is less likely that you will contract the flu during this time.

COVID-19 has similar symptoms and is also highly contagious. What draws major concern about the virus is that a) Testing is still difficult to come by so folks may be walking around with the virus unaware that they have it,  and b) The World Health Association reports 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 may becomes seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing.

Last, but not least allergy season is in full effect and has allergy sufferers wondering if they have the Coronavirus. Rest assured that if you are experiencing an itchy nose, the chances are that it is just allergies. Before assuming the worst, that you are suffering from Coronavirus, we need to rule out the symptoms first.

**If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who has it, please call your healthcare professional for the next steps on testing and what to do. Click here for more information on frequently asked questions and answers about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Why is spring allergy season affecting me?

Here are just a few reasons why this allergy season may be affecting you so severely:

  1. Priming Effect: The Priming Effect occurs when temperatures rocket up and plunge quickly in a short amount of time. Cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon? Sounds familiar, right? The constantly changing temperatures cause your body to rev up the immune system meaning people are hyper-sensitive to the new pollen, in turn this causes increased sensitivity and more suffering once the allergens are released.
  2. Warm Winters: Warm certainly isn’t something you think of when talking about winter. But warmer winters are just as much a part of allergy season as other factors. The National Climatic Data Center found that January 2017 was the second warmest month on record, on a global scale. The record-breaking snow totals also cause stress for plants, which leads to more flowers and fewer leaves. What does that mean? More pollen!
  3. Hot Summers: Summer heat can trigger stronger pollen seasons the following spring, with grass and tree pollen levels skyrocketing.

How can I prepare for spring allergy season?

With all the allergy issue potential out there, it’s important to know how to protect yourself, particularly if you’re sensitive to pollen. Here are a few things that can help cut down on the severity of allergy season, (link opens in a new tab) and keep spring allergies in check so that you can fully enjoy the season:

  1. If you’ve been outside, take a shower before you go to bed and change into fresh clothes so you don’t bring pollen onto your sheets that may have clung to your skin, hair or clothes.
  2. Limit outdoor activity to late afternoon: pollen counts are actually highest in the morning.
  3. It’s best to go outside after a good rain, as rain helps clear pollen from the air.
  4. Keep your car and house windows closed and instead opt for air condition at night to keep pollen out.
  5. Change your bedding and pillow covers often.
  6. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Enjoying warmer weather is one of the best things about spring, so go ahead and smell the flowers! Just remember that our providers at all three of our AFC Danbury Urgent Care Centers are here for the duration of allergy season, and relief if you need us.