More extreme allergy sufferers heading to emergency rooms

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – If your allergies have been making you miserable, you're not alone. Doctors across central Indiana are seeing more patients with severe allergy symptoms.

A long winter is likely the cause of sudden onset allergy symptoms. Doctors said some patients' symptoms are so severe that many are showing up in emergency rooms.

Doctors said it's rare to need emergency help for allergy symptoms and most symptoms can be treated by over-the-counter allergy medications

"Nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, they sometimes get a sore throat because of draining from your nose going down the back of your throat, watery eyes," said Dr. Geoffrey Billows, Medical Director for IMS.

If you have trouble breathing or have symptoms that get worse or don't improve over time, you should go to the doctor. You should also avoid being outside during high pollen times.

Sometimes allergy symptoms feel like the cold or flu. Here's how to know the difference:

Symptoms Cold Flu Airborne Allergy
Fever Rare Usual, high (100-102 °F), sometimes higher, especially in young children); lasts 3-4 days Never
Headache Uncommon Common Uncommon
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe Never
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual, can last up to 3 weeks Sometimes
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual, at the beginning of the illness Never
Stuffy, Runny Nose Common Sometimes Common
Sneezing Usual Sometimes Usual
Sore Throat Common Sometimes Sometimes
Cough Common Common, can become severe Sometimes
Chest Discomfort Mild to moderate Common Rare, except for those with allergic asthma
Treatment Get plenty of rest.
Stay hydrated. (Drink plenty of fluids.)
Decongestants.
Aspirin (ages 18 and up), acetaminophen, or ibuprofen for aches and pains
Get plenty of rest.
Stay hydrated.
Aspirin (ages 18 and up), acetaminophen, or ibuprofen for aches, pains, and fever
Antiviral medicines (see your doctor)
Avoid allergens (things that you’re allergic to)
Antihistamines
Nasal steroids
Decongestants
Prevention Wash your hands often.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.
Get the flu vaccine each year.
Wash your hands often.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has the flu.
Avoid allergens, such as pollen, house dust mites, mold, pet dander, cockroaches.
Complications Sinus infection middle ear infection, asthma Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life-threatening Sinus infection, middle ear infection, asthma

Courtesy: NIH News in Health: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services