With the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe, people are understandably anxious and hyper-aware of any signs of respiratory illness. A wayward sneeze, a scratchy throat, or labored breathing could be triggered by the arrival of spring, but it’s easy to panic and convince yourself that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. For some peace of mind, it may be useful to explore the differences between seasonal allergies and a viral respiratory illness, such as COVID-19. Let’s take a look.
Understanding Your Symptoms
The first step to determining whether you’re simply experiencing discomfort from seasonal allergies or fighting off a viral respiratory illness is to examine your symptoms. If your first symptoms affected your nose and eyes, you are likely succumbing to seasonal allergies. Viral symptoms often begin by impacting your entire body—think of muscle aches, fevers, headaches, and cough. If you have had allergies in the past, don’t let the panic and fear of contracting COVID-19 distort your memory of familiar symptoms. Take some time to ask yourself some key questions: Is there pollen or other irritants in the air? Are my primary complaints my itchy eyes and stuffy nose? Are these symptoms familiar and consistent with allergy symptoms I’ve experienced in the past? If so, allergies are the likely culprit.
Natural Approaches to Treating Spring Allergies at Home
Once you realize that you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, you’ll want to find effective and lasting relief. While the current social distancing guidelines have made acupuncture treatments temporarily unavailable, there are many other effective natural treatment options for relieving allergy symptoms.
The first step you should take to prevent or reduce allergies is to integrate anti-inflammatory foods as much as possible, such as nuts, apples, tomatoes, crucifers (broccoli, kale, cabbage), red grapes, and fish. Raw honey from local producers may also help to acclimate your immune system to allergens in your area. As you consume more anti-inflammatory foods, you should simultaneously reduce or eliminate pro-inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates, grains, sugary drinks, and other sweets. You may wish to eliminate dairy products as well, as dairy tends to encourage the production of mucus in the body and increase nasal congestion. It’s also important to drink plenty of water every day.
A Customized Herbal and Nutritional Supplement Plan
While making changes to your diet is a great way to prevent allergies, you may find yourself experiencing symptoms and in need of immediate relief. Most over-the-counter pharmaceuticals carry unpleasant side effects, so many people turn to herbal formulas and supplements that are specifically designed to address allergy symptoms.
Inner Works Acupuncture now provides telehealth consultations. We can evaluate your health concerns and design an effective allergy treatment plan, tailored to your specific needs. This includes herbal prescription and nutritional therapy, as well as recommendations for home treatment. Together, we can create an effective regimen of natural treatment that brings you the relief you crave.
If Your Symptoms Are More Consistent with Viral Respiratory Illness
After close examination, you may realize that your symptoms are more consistent with those related to flu-like respiratory illnesses. If so, consider whether there are a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in your area, and contact your physician about the availability and appropriateness of testing. While you tough it out at home with a viral respiratory illness—whether it’s the flu or COVID-19—there are herbal remedies available. Many of these herbal formulas are available over-the-counter, but others must be prescribed by a licensed herbalist. Symptoms caused by influenza or the novel coronavirus can be severe, so it’s highly recommended that you consult a Board-certified Chinese herbalist to discuss your specific treatment plan.