Deciding if you are experiencing an allergic reaction and need to get tested for allergies can be tricky. In peak allergy season, many of our patients commonly think that they have a cold or the flu before realizing their symptoms were a result of having allergies.
Do you have allergies?
With ragweed season quickly approaching, we thought we’d let you in on some tips straight from our experts, Dr. Julie Kuriakose and Dr. Tim Mainardi.
Check out our Q & A to see if it’s time to see your allergist:
Q: What’s the most common reason it takes people so long to actually get tested for allergies?
Dr. Mainardi: Many people think that because they have never had a history of allergies before they are immune to all allergies, and many people do not know that you can develop an allergy at any time. So even if you got tested when you were very little, it’s probably wise to get tested again later in life.
Q: You can really develop an allergy at any point in your life?
Dr. Kuriakose: Yes, you absolutely can. We see it a lot in patients who have recently moved to New York City and are suddenly exposed to a variety of new environmental allergens. Pollution, changes in the food we eat, even changes in how we are exposed to food allergens may all be factors in developing allergies.
Q: What are the main differences between cold symptoms and seasonal allergy symptoms?
Dr. Mainardi: It really depends, but if your “cold” is lasting longer than seven to ten days and doesn’t seem to be subsiding with over the counter meds, you are going to want to see a doctor no matter what.
Q: Any signs to look for at the onset of new symptoms?
Dr. Kuriakose: Usually allergy sufferers experience nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes as their main symptoms, along with a scratchy throat.
Q: Is there a rule of thumb for determining when it could be something like the flu verses allergies?
Dr. Mainardi: It really just depends on what each individual is allergic to, however, there are always peak allergy seasons based on your location when you should stop and ask yourself: “Do you have allergies?”. People allergic to tree pollen, for example, will usually experience the worst reactions in spring or fall when the flu is less common, so sometimes time of year can offer a small hint as to what the real problem is. Certainly the presence of a fever is more suggestive of an infection and not something you would typically see in an allergic reaction.
Think you might be experiencing allergy symptoms? Come in to get tested today.
We’re experts who care, on your schedule, around the corner. Just walk in.