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How to tell if it’s an allergy or something more

Posted at 11:52 AM, Mar 16, 2015

WYOMING, Mich– The recent warmer weather has been a nice preview of spring, which starts March 20. Unfortunately, that means allergies for many people. But we’re not out of the woods just yet when it comes to cold and flu season.

According to statistics, roughly 60 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma. And for 50 million of them, it’s a year round battle. Especially now, as West Michigan thaws out from another harsh winter.

“Our mold allergy people are coming in already,” said Dr. Randall Duthler, a family physician for Metro Health Southwest in Wyoming.

He says it’s too early to tell just how this allergy season will shape up. It all depends on how warm the temperatures stay and how soon trees start to bud.

Right now, Dr. Duthler is seeing more people coming in, suffering from indoor allergies.

“Some people with the wet basements are calling with issues, my asthmatics.”

He says over-the-counter anti-histamines are fine for daily use or on an as-needed basis.

Another option:  “The inhaled steroids are available over-the-counter so those are very very helpful,” Dr. Duthler added. “Those are the Flonase, the Nasacorts. They should be used in caution. Some patients with glaucoma should avoid them.”

Those medications should be started a week or two earlier and can be used through the duration of your allergy season.

But while Spring is within reach, Dr Duthler warns about confusing those symptoms.

“Fevers would be very atypical for allergies and we are still seeing cough and cold go around so don’t just think your runny nose is an allergy. If you have a fever it could be something else.”

Dr. Duthler recommends patients see an allergist if there is a specific allergen he is looking for, or normal medication doesn’t offer relief.