PNH: Surviving Allergy Season in Coweta County

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From Piedmont Newnan Hospital

The dreaded yellow film that coats your car, your front porch, your dog and almost anything that remains outside for more than a few minutes is back.

And that can only mean one thing: pollen season, which translates to seasonal allergies for millions of Americans. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.1 million people made appointments in 2019 to see a physician as a result of allergic rhinitis, irritation and inflammation of the mucus membrane inside the nose, as the primary diagnosis.

If you are suffering from sneezing, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion and all of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with an increase in the pollen count, you might want to make an appointment with a primary care physician or visit a local urgent care clinic. In fact, the published Pollen Count in Metro Atlanta this week was in the extremely high range six days, including the year’s highest count at 5,876 on Easter Sunday. Other counts included 4,117 (Monday), 3,258 (Tuesday), 4,954 (Thursday), 1,646 (Friday) and 2,797 (Saturday).

Those 4.1 million who made appointments represent just a fraction of people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Per the CDC, 18.9 percent of children younger than 18 suffer from season allergies and 25.7 percent of those 18 and older suffer from seasonal allergies.

Exacerbating conditions for most Georgians is that over 60 percent of the state’s land is made up of pine forests and pine pollen is a prime irritant for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.

“If you’re suffering from allergies and need relief or are wondering whether or not it is a cold, a visit with your doctor can pinpoint what steps to take next,” said William Courson, D.O., who specializes in family medicine, at Piedmont Physicians at Premier Medical in Newnan. “Meeting with a physician in a virtual visit will keep you safe and comfortable, and can be more convenient for those constantly on the go.”

Potential over-the-counter treatments are available for seasonal allergies. These include antihistamines, which block histamines, the chemicals found in some of the body’s cells that cause many of the symptoms of allergies. Additionally, nasal sprays are available. These are corticosteroids that help to reduce inflammation.

Confusing seasonal allergies with COVID and flu remains a possibility at this time of the year.

“Determining whether a patient is just suffering from allergies or is coming down with a cold can easily be done through telemedicine,” said Dr. Courson. “Once diagnosed, we can discuss medications and other steps to relieve the patient’s symptoms and get them feeling better.”

Piedmont offers virtual visits with primary care physicians, urgent care locations, and specialty practices. Most visits are conducted over video, and all you need to get started is a video-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone. Piedmont’s virtual visits are also HIPAA-compliant, so you can be confident that your information is kept safely. In addition, Piedmont now offers On-Demand Virtual Visits that allow patients to be seen same-day for minor illnesses or concerns, like seasonal allergies, through the Piedmont MyChart portal. If patients start experiencing symptoms, they can see a provider virtually with no appointment needed.

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