Coffee Talk with Dr. Coppola: Sneezy Season
Coffee Talk with Dr. Marco Coppola: Sneezy Season
An early start to spring 2016 in North Texas is causing lots of people to have the sniffles, coughing, watery eyes, scratchy throat and just, in general, feeling lousy. We decided to ask Dr. Marco Coppola, Chief Medical Officer, if this is simply our springtime fate, if there’s anything we can do to feel better and when to worry when allergies get out of control.
Family Urgent Care PLUS: Good Morning, Dr. Coppola!
Dr. Coppola: Good Morning!
Family Urgent Care PLUS: Lately we’ve been sneezing, coughing and having a scratchy throat. How can we tell if we’re having allergies or a cold?
Dr. Coppola: Sometimes it hard to tell a difference. The viruses that cause colds are contagious. You can pick them up when someone who’s infected sneezes, coughs on or shakes hands with you (and then you touch your eyes or face). After a couple of weeks, at the most, your immune system fights off the illness and you should stop having symptoms. Allergies are a different story. They’re caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless things, such as dust or pollen for germs and attacks them. When that happens, your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause a swelling in the passageways of your nose, and you’ll start sneezing and coughing. And sometimes it can be really bad, especially in transplants. Unlike colds, allergies aren’t contagious, though some people may inherit a tendency to get them.
Family Urgent Care PLUS: Wait! What do you mean “transplants?”
Dr. Coppola: You know! People like me. People who did not grow up in Texas, practically the allergy capital of the world, and move down to Texas. It’s much worse for us.
Family Urgent Care PLUS: I see! But, how can we tell if our allergies are becoming a problem or just going on too long?
Dr. Coppola: Well, colds don’t usually last more than 14 days. Obviously with all the allergens in the air, like tree, plant and flower pollen, and things blooming at different times, allergies can go on for much longer. The thing you need to watch out for is sinus infections. Sinus infections can be serious if not properly treated. You’ll know you have one because the middle of your face will hurt and you’ll have a fever and yucky looking mucous. Patients really need to see a doctor for that. Allergies are just a nuisance. Watery eyes, clear mucous, sneezing, just feeling…blah. These can be easily treated with over the counter medications, but once again, if the symptoms go on for too long, like over two weeks, it is probably best you see your doctor.
Family Urgent Care PLUS: Thanks, Dr. C! You’ve been super helpful. Ah… Ah…CHOOO!
Dr Coppola: Bless!