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Fall Allergies or a Seasonal Illness?

Fall Allergies or a Seasonal Illness?

Am I Sick or Do I Have Allergies?

As fall approaches, many people start to experience sniffles and sneezes. For some, this is due to fall allergies, but for others, it could signify a seasonal illness such as the flu or a cold. How can you tell the difference, and when should you seek care?

Critical Differences Between Allergies & Illnesses

There are some similarities between allergies and seasonal illnesses. Both can cause runny noses, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing. However, there are also some key differences.

Allergies usually don't cause fever, while illnesses like the flu often do. Instead, allergies tend to peak when exposed to an allergen — such as dust, mold spores, or food. When an allergen enters your airways, some patients may also experience asthma symptoms such as wheezing. On the other hand, illnesses are more likely to cause severe symptoms like body aches and fatigue, which are less common with allergies.

Seeking Treatment

If you're unsure whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or an illness, it's always best to avoid caution and see a doctor. If you have a case of seasonal allergies or a sensitivity to a particular food, it's best to seek a diagnosis to start treatment to reduce your symptoms.

Allergies can be treated with over-the-counter medications, while seasonal illnesses may require prescription drugs or even a hospital stay. Though the flu is a viral condition best treated at home, certain symptoms and cases of the flu or COVID-19 are best handled by your doctor. Either way, your doctor will be able to offer the appropriate testing to help you feel better.

Emergency Care

Some cases of allergies or seasonal illness require immediate medical attention. If you notice these symptoms, seek emergency care as soon as possible:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lips or fingernails turn blue
  • Swelling of your eyes and throat
  • High fever (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Symptoms last longer than a week

ENT & Primary Care in Jackson Hole

If you're feeling under the weather this fall, don't write it off as allergies. It could be something more serious. Be sure to pay attention to your symptoms and consult with a medical professional if you're unsure.

From family medicine to internal medicine, our Primary Care Providers and ENTs at St. John's Health are here to openly listen to your concerns and work with you to achieve better health and wellness. Visit our website to see the types of care we provide or to find a doctor today!