Fall brings with it cool breezes, colorful leaves and maybe even a little spiced cider. Sounds good…unless you’re the victim of pollen allergies. Also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, these allergies affect about 30 million Americans and typically spike this time of year.
The tricky part is, fall pollen allergies are sometimes confused with sinus infections, and a misdiagnosis can lead to ineffective treatment. So how can you tell the difference?
Generally, you can think of allergies as an ailment that affect your neck and up.
Symptoms can include things like:
- Nasal congestion
- A runny nose or postnasal drip
- Itchy or watery eyes
- A scratchy or sore throat
Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, have a slightly different symptom set. Watch out for:
- A fever (this is a major distinction from allergies)
- Nasal congestion
- Yellow or green nasal discharge
- A cough
- A headache
If you believe you might have fall pollen allergies, check with your doctor to put together a plan for combatting them. Symptoms and treatment can differ for every person, depending on your own unique body chemistry, your lifestyle and where you live.
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to avoid allergies isn’t to avoid the outdoors. That’s a myth. But you can try a few basic techniques to minimize your exposure to pollen, by washing your hands and face after you spend time outside, and keeping an air conditioner (with a clean air filter) running to help avoid mold. Mold can worsen allergic rhinitis symptoms.
With a doctor’s advice, you can also try basic medicines like antihistamines, and a hypertonic nasal saline rinse can help if used after exposure to allergens. But each case is unique so, when allergies have you down, give our office a call to see what might be right for you. With the right allergy and sinus plan, you can get back to enjoying fall, pollen and all.