CareNow® - September 08, 2022

Can I go to urgent care for fall allergies?

When most people think about allergies, they envision flower buds and blooming trees in the spring; however, seasonal allergies can happen any time, even in the fall. Neither season is necessarily worse when it comes to seasonal allergies either — it all depends on what you're allergic to.

Pollen tends to be the No. 1 culprit of spring allergies, while ragweed causes the most irritation during the fall months. So why exactly do some people suffer worse than others, and how can you keep symptoms at bay if you experience seasonal allergies? We're sharing everything you need to know.

What causes fall allergies?

During the fall season, ragweed is the biggest trigger of allergies. In the month of August, some lingering pollen from the summer can contribute to allergies; however, by September and October, ragweed typically takes over

Unfortunately, for those who suffer from allergies in the spring, about 75% of those with spring plant allergies are also allergic to ragweed. Even worse, it's likely you'll be exposed to ragweed whether you live near it or not as the pollen can travel hundreds of miles on the wind.

Although less common an allergy than ragweed, mold is another fall allergy trigger. All of the damp leaves on the ground create breeding grounds for the spores, which love wet spots outdoors.

Dust mites are another allergen that can be found during the fall months. Mites prefer warm weather and are usually more common during summer; however, as you turn your heat in the fall, it's possible they can get stirred into the air.

What are the symptoms of fall allergies?

Fall allergy symptoms are nearly identical to other seasonal allergy symptoms. If you're suffering from fall allergies, you may experience:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Coughing

Why do I only get allergies in the fall?

Although 75% of those who suffer spring allergies also suffer from allergies in the fall, it is possible to only be allergic to the allergens common in one season. If you're allergic to spring plants, you will only experience symptoms during the spring months. If you're only allergic to ragweed, mold, or dust mites, on the other hand, you may only notice allergy symptoms during the fall months.

Should I go to urgent care for allergies?

Since allergy symptoms are similar to those of the common cold or even COVID-19, it's a good idea to seek medical care for a proper diagnosis. The provider will want to know more about your medical history and symptoms.

In some cases, a skin test may also help determine what's causing your watery, itchy eyes and runny nose. If a skin test is needed, the provider will place a small amount of the allergen on your skin, then prick the skin underneath to see if you're allergic. If you are, you'll notice a small, raised bump that itches (similar to a mosquito bite).

If you need quick care from a qualified provider, consider visiting your local CareNow®. We offer extended hours so you can get seen when it's best for you and get back to your day.

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How to tell allergies vs. a cold

Many people who develop allergies, especially as adults, may confuse their symptoms with those of a cold. But despite the similar symptoms, such as sniffles and stuffiness, there are ways to differentiate the two.

Allergies are usually accompanied by clear or watery mucus, itchy or watery eyes, and sniffles that last more than a week. With allergies, it's common for symptoms to stay the same day after day.

With a cold, you may notice your symptoms changing every few days. For instance, a fever and a stuffy nose might be your initial symptoms, but within a few days, you may also experience a sore throat or sinus pain. Headache, low fever, cough, mild body aches, and green or yellow mucus are also typical of a cold.

Can you prevent fall allergies?

If you're allergic to the allergens present during the fall months, it's unlikely you can prevent symptoms completely. But by following a few simple steps, you can keep symptoms under control and prevent allergy attacks.

Stay indoors:

This is especially important on days when the pollen count is high (you can typically find this information on your local news or weather website). Pollen usually peaks in the late morning or middle of the day.

Give your vents a good clean:

Before you start running the heat inside your home for the first time each year, be sure to change out our filter and clean your heating vents. It's common for mold and other allergens to get stuck in the vents while they're not being used during the summer — when you turn on the furnace, they will fill the air quickly.

Invest in a HEPA filter:

A HEPA filter in your heating system will help get pollen, mold, and other potential allergens out of the air in your home.

Use a dehumidifier:

When possible, you want to keep your air between 35% and 50% humidity to prevent your sinuses from drying out. A dehumidifier is a great way to monitor the humidity levels in your home.

Can urgent care treat fall allergies?

Once the cause of your allergies has been determined, the provider will most likely prescribe a medication that can help alleviate your symptoms. It's also possible to find useful allergy medications without a prescription; however, you should ask your provider which one they recommend.

Steroid nasal sprays are often used to help reduce inflammation in your nose, while antihistamines are commonly prescribed to help minimize sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Decongestants can be used to help with stuffiness and to dry up the mucus in your nose.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, a provider can help you figure out exactly what it is you're allergic to and what the best course of treatment is for you. At CareNow®, each of our more than 175 locations around the country is fully staffed with qualified physicians and nurses who are ready to help you.

We've earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry's association, Urgent Care Association (UCA), so you know you're getting only the best care.

It's our goal to provide you with convenient, patient-centered urgent care when you need it most. That's why each of our clinics is open after hours and on the weekends — and we welcome walk-in patients for those times you just can't wait for an appointment.

We're also proud to offer Web Check-In®, which allows you to wait from anywhere instead of inside the waiting room.

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