Allergy Season Has Begun

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So it’s begun… allergy season. Both my husband and I have horrible allergies. He’s worse than me. Since we have moved we have noticed fewer allergies in the spring/summer. We thought maybe we were off the hook for the fall but alas it has begun.

There are a number of ways to control your allergy symptoms such as: Nasal saline, decongestants and over the counter or prescription antihistamines.

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Ragweed is vastly becoming one of the worst culprits as it continues to get stronger each year in the US. Here’s the 411 on this sneaky troublemaker!

  • Ragweed is nearly impossible to avoid, so it’s best to learn how to protect yourself from the symptoms it causes. It is estimated that a single ragweed plant can release 1 billion pollen grains during the fall season.
  • Ragweed is a plant of the daisy family. Its green flowers produce abundant amounts of pollen so it is best to learn how to protect yourself from hay fever.
  • Ragweed allergy season seems to begin in early August, through mid-October.
  • There are 17 different species of ragweed in the U.S.

Some more tips on how to deal with allergy season:

  • Check out a previous article I wrote on the differences between Colds Vs. Allergies HERE!
  • In the early fall, keep your windows closed from 10am to 4pm. This will reduce your exposure to allergens like ragweed.
  • Clean and change air filters every three months to reduce the amount of dirt, debris, and allergens that you come in contact with every day.
  • Avoid window fans! While convenient, they tend to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores.
  • In the fall, we start pulling out cozy quilts when it gets cold. But these can be the home to dust mites, causing your allergies to become enflamed. Wash your bedding every two weeks to help ease allergy symptoms.

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CVS’s MinuteClinic website has tons of information on allergies among other things. To find a MinuteClinic near you or to learn more visit HERE!

*Disclosure – The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. I was provided a CVS gift card as compensation for this post.

The Difference Between Colds vs. Allergies – CVS MinuteClinic #SneezeFreeSpring

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Achoo! Excuse me. Well it’s that time of year. The seasons are changing and there is a lot of sneezing, itchy eyes going on in our house. My husband and I both have horrible allergies. Mine are more seasonal. His are seasonal but he is also allergic to a number of other things. Which is why with our renovations we got rid of the carpet and refinished the hard wood floors. Less allergens that way.

Usually at some point in April I wake up and think I have a horrible cold or that I’m on the verge of a sinus infection. It turns out it is always allergies. I’ve been lucky that if I wake up feeling like I’m sick I’m usually fine the next day. But I always question whether or not I have a cold or not and completely freak out and say I can’t get sick I have this and that coming up. Who has time to get sick right?

Do you often wonder if it’s allergies? Here is some great info provided by MinuteClinic on allergies that will help you navigate allergy season.

The Lowdown:

What IS an allergy?

An allergy is the body’s hypersensitivity to substances in the environment. Mold, dust, pollen, pet dander, and even some foods can cause allergic reactions.

What causes seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are a reaction to small airborne substances. These allergens are small proteins that usually float around in the spring, summer and fall.

So, those springtime colds may actually be allergies?

Yes. A cold will typically clear up pretty quickly, within 7-10 days. Allergies may last weeks or even months!

Colds vs. Allergies

Did you know that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don’t even know it? That’s because many people confuse the symptoms of spring allergies with a common cold. Here’s what you need to know about the two:

  • The main difference between a cold and allergies is that a cold is caused by a viral infection while allergy symptoms are caused by your body’s own immune system’s attempt to fight off an allergen.
  • If you start sniffling and coughing at the same time each year and your symptoms come on suddenly, it may be allergies.
  • If you have a cough, it’s probably a cold. Most people with a cold will have a cough, but not everyone with allergies has this symptom.
  • If you’re aching all over, it’s probably a cold, not allergies. Aches and pains are not symptoms of allergies.
  • Itchy eyes are a common symptom of allergies but RARELY occur with the common cold!
  • If you have a fever, it’s not allergies! A fever is sometimes present with a cold, but will never occur with allergies.

Treatment and Relief:

How can I protect my family and myself?

Symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Nasal saline, decongestants and over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines may help relieve symptoms as well.

So, how do I get allergy relief?

There are plenty of options! At MinuteClinic, our nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate.

If you’re diagnosed with allergies, medication may help relieve your symptoms. The best way to treat allergies is to avoid the allergen – whatever it may be.

Stay on top of your allergies by following MinuteClinic on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more visit: http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic

 

                                                                                                                             

*Disclosure – The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. I was provided a CVS gift card as compensation for this post.

Why You Need The Flu Shot This Year – CVS MinuteClinic

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Every year my hubby and I get our annual flu shot. And every year my anxiety is through the roof before I go. Ever since I was a little kid I was horrible at getting shots. I think I’m getting a little better as I get older and not AS crazy about it. Blood work on the other hand… well that’s another story all together.

 

We normally head to Plainsboro, NJ because that was always our closest CVS MinuteClinic. That is until a few weeks ago. I was so excited to learn that one of my local CVS’s built a MinuteClinic. If you are in the Mercer County area there is now a CVS MinuteClinic in Lawrenceville, NJ right off Route 1.

 

Normally I’ve had to wait a few minutes before getting my annual shot at CVS but not this time. We walked in, headed to the back and we were the first ones there. Annie Wood was the nurse on duty and was soooo nice. I told her how I hate shots and she said I would be fine. I decided to go first and I sat down and it was over. I didn’t feel a thing. Honest to God. Nada! I said I don’t think you gave me the shot and she said she did and my husband watched. Best. Shot. Ever. Thanks Annie!

 

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? No? What are you waiting for?

Now is the time to get your shot. Flu outbreaks can start to begin in October, however they typically peak in January or later.

Worried your insurance won’t cover it? Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a flu shot. Hey, they don’t want you getting sick either.

And get this… customers that get their flu shot at CVS will receive a 20% off shopping coupon. Woo Hoo!

 

While getting a flu shot is the single most effective way to prevent getting the flu, you still want to take other precautions during the fall/winter. Plus you don’t want a cold either. Keep those hands washed constantly, always cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (not your hand), stay away from sick people as best you can and avoid touching your face.

 

Now head on over to your local CVS MinuteClinic for your flu shot. In Mercer County? Head to the new one in Lawrenceville and ask for Annie. Tell her I sent you.

 

Where  can I learn more about  the flu? Learn more about the flu at: www.cdc.gov/flu and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings at: http://bit.ly/ZQZVDn

 

*The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. CVS MinuteClinic provided me with the flu shots and a gift card which was super nice of them. Just another reason why I love CVS.