Educate patients about allergy symptoms
With the dawn of cold and flu season and lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, allergy patients have felt heightened anxiety and doubts about their overall health and safety.
Additionally, many symptoms of the delta variant are shared with patients struggling with their allergies over the next several months.
It could reasonably lead patients to believe that they have the delta variant.
Nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly to educate patients on some of the discrepancies between allergy symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19.
In an interview with HCPLive, Rebecca Rosenberger, MMSc, ââPA-C, Allergy Diagnostic & Treatment Center, and Associate Director, Clinical Affairs and Education at Thermo Fisher Scientific, spoke about identifying and treating specific allergies in patients. patients, a process that may help alleviate fears of the delta variant and benefit patients with seasonal allergies.
Rosenberger noted that about 60% of the US population is currently in medium to high pollen status, which is often caused by weed pollen and certain molds.
In addition, patient populations such as children are re-entering schools, which continues to increase cases of respiratory viruses.
To the untrained eye, a respiratory virus could be mistaken for the delta variant. But there are some key differences.
âWith COVID-19, one of the different symptoms is a fever,â Rosenberger said. âAllergies don’t usually cause a fever. Some people can get a secondary infection, like a sinus infection that you can have a fever with, but this acute fever is one of the differentiating symptoms between allergies and COVID-19. “
Regardless, Rosenberger added that different risk categories, as well as populations at high risk for allergies and the delta variant such as asthma patients, should always be considered.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants often engage with patients, asking them what their concerns are, what symptoms they have experienced, and their potential allergy history.
âIt’s really about validating the symptoms that the patient is having, first and foremost, understanding the timing (of the symptom), the severity (of the symptoms), and then working on the next best step for that patient. Rosenberger said.
The âbest next stepâ may vary depending on the patient. Sometimes recommendations like avoiding allergens like pollen and mold can make all the difference.
Other times, recommendations for in vitro blood tests and skin tests may be recommended to better understand a patient’s symptoms.
While nurse practitioners and physician assistants often lead the charge regarding conversations about allergy symptoms and symptom diagnosis, Rosenberger urged all healthcare professionals to stay engaged with their patients.
âEvery point of contact we have with a patient is an opportunity, and we never know when their next opportunity for a little education is going to happen,â Rosenberger said. “Regardless of the credentials behind your name or not, if you have that knowledge, it’s really up to each of us to have that education with a patient and really meet them where they are.”
For more on Rebecca Rosenberger’s interview with HCPLive and how to alleviate allergy symptoms, watch the video above.