Springtime is only a few short weeks away, and as it gets warmer and the snow melts away you may be prone to allergy attacks. While the cold and flu may present with similar symptoms as a mild allergic reaction, it is critical to learn the differences and your specific allergies in order to know when you need to seek medical attention.

What is Considered an Allergen?

Most things can be allergens, but a doctor or specialist will be able to determine which ones your body will negatively react to. Certain foods, species of animals and insects and even medications can trigger a reaction. Many spring allergies are caused by environmental changes in the transition of seasons, with pollen becoming abundant as the flowers begin to bloom. If a substance enters your body and your cells determine there is a risk, you will experience an allergic reaction.

How Can I Tell If I Am Having an Allergic Reaction?

Allergic reaction symptoms vary based on many factors, primarily your immune system. Different allergens can lead to different responses in different systems across your body. Depending on what is being affected, you may experience different things:

  • If your eyes, ears, nose, and throat are experiencing the brunt of the reaction, you will notice redness, watering and irritation in your eyes, as well as swelling. Your voice will become hoarse and your throat may begin to swell up. You may also experience nasal congestion.
  • If your skin is reacting poorly to something in the air, you will develop a rash. As your skin swells, you will become persistently itchy and your eyes will begin to water.
  • If your circulatory or respiratory systems are experiencing the reaction, you may feel your chest getting tight and shortness of breath. Your heart rate will increase while your blood pressure drops, which can lead to shock.
  • If you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction, you may begin to feel similar symptoms as an anxiety attack as well as fatigue. You may also begin to form a rash as well as severe nausea. Anaphylaxis symptoms begin to appear within minutes of exposure to an allergen. If you begin to feel faint, you will need to visit an emergency room immediately for a shot of epinephrine and treatment. If you carry an EpiPen, a person with you who is trained in injections will be able to administer the shot.

When Should I Visit an Urgent Care Center?

You should visit an urgent care center as soon as a non-life-threatening reaction begins. A physician will be able to determine the cause of the reaction, treat it and provide you with options for handling symptoms going forward. If you are unable to breathe or your symptoms begin immediately, you need to go to an emergency room for treatment. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal if left untreated.

If you begin to experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, do not wait for it to resolve itself. Visit AFC Urgent Care Cedar Grove for immediate treatment of non-life-threatening reactions. We accept most major health insurances as well as walk-in patients.