That cold you’re treating could be allergies

WASHINGTON – Blame it on the snow, or the cold temperatures. While it may feel like a cold, the long winter has patients misdiagnosing their allergies, doctors say.

“For both colds and allergies, people are going to be complaning of runny nose, congestion,” says allergist Dr. Gian Yoon.

While doctors are used to seeing patients complaining of cold-like symptoms during this time of year, patients can easily be taking cold medicine for an elm tree allergy.

“If you look inside the nose, you can tell the difference between cold and allergy. But it’s not always easy for the person feeling those symptoms to tell the difference,” says Dr. Martha White, with the Institute For Asthma and Allergy in Wheaton, Maryland.

She says the worst is yet to come. The pollen levels are where they should be for this time of year, according to White, who adds that April and May are when people should really expect to feel the brunt of allergy symptoms.

“I think we’re all aware we’ve watered the plants extraordinarily well over the last month or so with all the snow seeping into the ground. So I would expect we’re going to have a fairly high pollen season this year,” White says.

She urges those who rely on epi pens for protection from bee sting allergies to refill their prescriptions now, as bees are already taking flight.

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