Do you have seasonal allergies—or are your symptoms a sign of something else? If you have a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, and other respiratory issues, take a look at what you need to know about these symptoms, a diagnosis, and how an urgent care clinic can help.
Are Symptoms Enough for a Diagnosis?
Your symptoms are clues that the medical provider can follow. But signs of a possible allergy or a potential illness aren't always enough to help the doctor make a diagnosis. Common symptoms that span seasonal allergies and viral illnesses such as colds, the flu, or Covid include nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes.
While some people with allergies may feel tired (especially if their symptoms keep them up at night or they take an antihistamine), fatigue is more often associated with a viral infection. Fever, chills, and muscle aches are not signs of seasonal allergies. If you have these symptoms, the doctor may immediately rule out allergies. But this doesn't mean they will diagnose one specific illness using the symptoms alone. Even though you could have these similar symptoms with an allergy, diagnostic tests are often necessary for the doctor to diagnose and treat you correctly.
What Types of Tests Might You Need?
There are two primary types of allergy tests—skin and blood testing. These tests can help a doctor to diagnose seasonal allergies (such as ragweed or tree pollen) or allergies to medications, foods, animals, insects, or other common triggers. Skin prick and allergy blood tests won't help the medical provider to diagnose the flu or Covid. The doctor may recommend a nasal swab test to rule out or diagnose these viral illnesses.
How Can An Urgent Care Center Help?
Can an urgent care doctor diagnose your allergies? Skin prick and allergy blood tests are typically tools that a specialist uses. If you suspect that you have seasonal allergies, you can start the diagnostic process at this type of general clinic. A clinic doctor can review your symptoms and order tests to rule out illnesses such as the flu or Covid. If you test negative for both of these viral infections, and the doctor doesn't feel that you have a cold, they may refer you to an allergist.
Patients who do test positive for the flu or Covid can take the next step towards treatment at a clinic. A medical provider can prescribe an antiviral medication to treat the flu or refer you to a healthcare facility that offers Covid treatments such as antivirals or monoclonal antibodies.
Contact an urgent care clinic for more information.