During spring, allergies start to become more common. However, it’s still the tail end of flu and cold season, which can have similar symptoms to allergies. Do you know how to tell what’s making you sniffle in the spring? Here are our best tips!

How to Identify the Source

Allergies, flu viruses, and colds share some of the same symptoms: sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, coughing, itchy nose and throat, and dark circles under the eyes. This can lead some people to believe that they are suffering from one thing when it really is something else, making it so they don’t receive proper medical care. 

So, how can you tell the difference? The secret is in the 3 Ts:

  • Time – Flu and cold symptoms typically appear gradually and then diminish over the course of a few days; but allergic reactions occur almost immediately and can last a long time– as long as you’re exposed to the allergen.
  • Treatment – Flu and cold viruses have to run their course, but allergy symptoms like postnasal drip and swollen, watery and/or itchy eyes can be improved with proper treatment. If allergy medication helps significantly, it’s likely allergies. 
  • Temperature – If you have a fever, you more than likely have the flu or a cold. Allergies generally don’t cause a rise in body temperature. 

Knowing how to identify the source of your symptoms makes treatment much easier. However, as with many things in life, the best defense is a good offense. In order to prevent cold and flu, the best thing you can do is wash your hands regularly. Allergies require a different approach depending on the allergen. 

Common Causes of Allergies

You first need to figure out the cause of your allergies before you can do anything to prevent them. Here are the most common springtime allergens:

  • Outdoor Allergens — Pollen is one of the most common sources of spring allergies. There are 11 different types of trees that produce allergy-causing pollen, and this pollen fills the air in the spring. Mold spores also become common in the warm, wet weather in the spring, and are another large cause of allergies. 
  • Indoor Allergens — Contrary to popular belief, inside the home can be much worse for allergy sufferers than the outdoors. This is because not only do indoor allergens, such as pet hair and dust, exist, but outdoor allergens are often carried in on shoes and clothing. Allergy sufferers need to take just as much precaution indoors as they do out. 

Reduce, Remove, Relieve

After you have identified the source of your allergies, the next step is to reduce and remove existing allergens for maximum relief. While it’s hard to remove outdoor allergens, high-efficiency filters and regular cleaning can help reduce and remove common indoor allergens. Here’s how:

  • Reduce — Installing a high quality furnace filter with a filtration rating of at least MERV 8 is an easy way to capture airborne allergens like pollen, dust and dander. Allergens also tend to build up in carpet and rugs, so vacuuming once or twice a week with a three-stage HEPA filter vacuum will help as well. 
  • Remove — Start the season right with a deep cleaning by Acme Chem-Dry. In a study conducted by a leading independent lab, our proprietary Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE) process was found to remove, on average, 98% of common household allergens, such as dog and cat dander and dust mites, from carpets and upholstery and, when a sanitizer was added, 89% of airborne bacteria. Not only that, our low-moisture HCE process uses about 80% less water than typical steam cleaning, so your carpets dry in hours instead of days and you don’t have the risk of mold and mildew growth–another allergy trigger–that comes from using an excessive amount of water. A professional cleaning from Chem-Dry is a great way to remove allergens for your home altogether. 
  • Relieve — Even after taking proactive measures, some indoor and outdoor allergens are going to find their way into our lives and our homes. If you still suffer from severe allergy symptoms after taking these steps, consult with your doctor to find a method to best relieve your symptoms. 

To learn more about creating a healthy home, schedule an appointment, or request a free quote, give Acme Chem-Dry a call at (559) 434-1111.