Sometimes it's hard to tell whether your child is dealing with the common cold or allergies. How can you know? Here are 4 ways to find out on the blog!
With the arrival of a new season comes its own share of health challenges, especially when those pollen counts begin to soar. If you haven't tested your child for seasonal allergies, why not do that this season? Sensitivity to environmental triggers could emerge at any point during adolescence. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell whether you're dealing with the common cold or a direct response to seasonal allergies.
Here are a few ways to know if it's a cold or allergies:
Duration of symptoms
One of the tell-tale signs of allergies is that they will persist for weeks on end. The common cold which typically clears up in 1-2 weeks with rest and treatment. As long as your child is exposed to indoor/outdoor areas with allergy triggers, he/she will continue to experience symptoms throughout the season, so this is a clear indication that a cold is not the culprit.
Nasal discharge color
In the event that your child has contracted a virus, the color of his/her mucous is an important warning sign that can let you know what your child is suffering from. During a cold, mucous becomes thicker, as well as taking on a green or yellow hue, while those suffering nasal congestion from allergies will have clear, thinner mucous. However, it's important to note that sinus infections can sometimes be caused by allergies and will change mucous color to yellow, so be mindful of this when making a diagnosis.
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Allergies can bring about many of the most common cold symptoms, but others only arise in the presence of a virus. A fever and body aches are normal immune system responses, as well as clear signs that the body is fighting an infection and is actively producing antibodies to stave it off. These bodily functions do not occur as a result of allergies.
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Last but not least, if you find that your child tends to experience watery eyes, a runny nose or sneezing more often outdoors than at home, this is a clear sign that the allergens present in the environment are triggering his/her symptoms. Endeavor to keep your home as allergen-free as possible by removing clothing at the door, cleaning often and encouraging your child to shower frequently to remove any allergens still present on his/her skin and hair.
Shop for Cold and Allergy products
Spring is here, so make sure you're ready for the worst of allergy season by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help keep you and your loved ones healthy year-round.
There are several ways to treat spring eye allergies with your FSA and reduce itchy symptoms. Learn more in this blog post.
Though allergies can be seasonal (especially in spring with higher pollen counts), they don't necessarily have to be seasonal, if eyes are sensitive to other environmental factors. But, there are several ways to treat eye allergies with your FSA and reduce itchy symptoms.
Here are a few tips from WebMD, "Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, usually in mid-morning and early evening. Close the windows and run the air conditioner (window fans can draw in pollen and mold spores). If you go out, wearing eyeglasses or bigsunglasses can help block pollen from your eyes. Driving? Keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner."
You can shop for prescription eyeglasses with an FSA
In addition to that, WebMD recommends keeping a clean home and cleaning floors with a wet mop. "Sweeping tends to stir up rather than get rid of allergens. Especially if a pet shares the house with you, consider replacing rugs and carpets, which trap and hold allergens, with hardwood, tile, or other flooring materials that are easier to clean. Go with blinds instead of curtains."
Alternatively, you can tryrinsing eyes out with saline solution or eye lubricants.
And, finally, WebMD also urges people to fight the urge to rub or itch their eyes, as that could intensify allergy symptoms. The WebMD experts recommend using cool compresses for relief.
Shop for cool compresses with an FSA
If these at-home remedies don't work, you can also try prescription medications to fight allergy symptoms.
Take oral histamines like Zyrtec or Claritin to treat symptoms and get relief
Shop for Rx Eye Care for Allergy Relief.Note: you'll need a prescription to get reimbursed by your FSA.
Finally, if your allergies persist or worsen, it could be best to check in with your doctor. You could use an FSA to cover the deductible, or co-pay for the visit.
Learn about additional eligible expenses via the FSA Eligibility List
Wondering why holiday allergies are popping up? Why now? It's not even the season, right? Learn about holiday allergy triggers and treatments!
So, where do those holiday allergic symptoms comefrom? Often, they come from places we would least expect.
Here are the most common allergy triggers that may pop upthis December at home or away:
While you may not be allergic to natural trees, many of these trees come to your home packed with moisture and mold spores. These mold sporescan trigger allergic symptoms. Additionally, decorations stored year-round may containdust mites, mold and other allergens. The best options for allergy sufferers include artificial trees that only require seasonal cleaning, as well as storing decorationsin dry places to prevent themold buildup.
Candles are holiday staples and can fill a home with a festive glow.But, sadlyfor individuals with allergies and asthma, they can be an unexpected trigger. Scented candles, air fresheners and other artificial fragrances can carry a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, limonene, esters and alcohols. These substances could even lead to asthma attacks, respiratory inflammation, headaches and dizziness for some. If you do use them this holiday season, control air flow by opening windows and using them in moderation.
If you'retraveling this holiday season to a friend or relative's home who has a pet, prepare ahead if you have an allergy. Wash your hands frequently, and ask your hosts to keep the pet(s) out of your sleeping space, and ensure that this area is as clean as possible when you arrive. Additionally, taking an antihistamine throughout your trip can fight the body's immune response to allergens and lessen your symptoms.
While some people are allergic to the pollen that these holiday flowers contain, they have a much larger risk for individuals with latex allergies. Poinsettias contain a chemical compound similar to what is found in rubber latex, which can cause severe allergic reactions such as skin rashes and wheezing, as well as chest pain and drops in blood pressure in severe cases. If you're decorating with poinsettias this year, be sure to check with your guests about potential latex allergies for their own safety.
Before you hit the road this holiday season, protect you and your family from with FSA eligible cold and allergy products from FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you make the most of your consumer spending account!
What's in a sneeze? Learn five weird and interesting facts about sneezing and shop for cold/flu products with your FSA at FSAstore.com.
With fall allergy season upon us, the sneezes, stuffy noses and seasonal symptoms will soon be here infull force. Of them all, a good sneeze can stop you dead in your tracks, but for a bodily function soabrupt and random most of us rarely stop to think about what exactly happens in the body every timeyou reach for a tissue.
Here are a few facts you may not have known about this everyday activity:
1. A sneeze is your nose "rebooting"
According to research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and published in theJournal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers sought to answerwhy humans sneeze by comparing the nasal cells of humans and mice and how each clear the substancefrom their nasal cavities. The study authors concluded that a sneeze is the nose rebooting, similar tohow a computer restarts. A sneeze is a nerve transmission that tells the brain that there is something inthe nose that needs to be cleared out, thus triggering the immune response.
2. Sneezing is impossible during sleep
Have you ever wondered why you aren't jarred awake in the middle of the night with a sneezing fit?When you go to sleep, those same nerves that trigger sneezes and help expel pollen, dust and danderfrom your nasal cavities get some shut-eye as well. These nerves will remain dormant until you wake upand start your day.
3. Sneezing can alter your heartbeat
The old myth that your heart stops when you sneeze is untrue, but sneezing could change the rhythm ofyour heartbeat in some cases. A sneeze is a result of a change in pressure in our chests, which can alterblood flow and the overall rhythm of your heartbeat. While it may feel like your heart flutters or skips abeat during a sneeze, it is still working properly!
4. Sunlight can make you sneeze
Pollen, dust and other particulates aren't the only sneeze catalysts. About 1 in 4 people have a reactionto sunlight called a "photic sneeze reflex." Scientists are split over the direct cause of this reaction, butmany expect that the same message that the brain receives to shrink the pupils in the eyes whenexposed to bright light may cross paths with the message the brain receives to sneeze. If you findyourself sneezing in the sun, this may be why!
5. Sneeze particles can travel up to 5 feet
There's a reason why your parents told you to cover your mouth while sneezing since childhood! Asneeze moves with such force and the mucus particles are so tiny that it's very likely they can travelacross a room, often 5 feet or more in front of you. Ideally, use a tissue or your elbow to block the sprayfrom a sneeze so you don't spread germs on your hands to doorknobs and other surfaces that otherscould come into contact with.
With cold and flu season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to pick up qualifying medical productsat FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to helpyou support the continued good health and wellness of you and your loved ones.
It's cold and flu season. Did you know your FSA can help prevent these two? Discover three ways to fight the flu with your FSA.
With the temperatures falling and the landscape turning its familiar shades of orange, red and brown, the brilliance of fall is finally here in full swing!
A new season brings its own share of new health concerns for your loved ones, and none are greater than the threat of the flu virus.
Flu season is unpredictable, as the timing, severity and length of the season vary from one year to the next and assorted strains of the virus may emerge throughout fall and winter.
If you use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you are uniquely prepared to tackle the coming season and safeguard your family's health.
Here are a few ways to get started on fighting the flu with your FSA:
- Get vaccinated!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends receiving a vaccination soon after it becomes available, typically by early October. It will take about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection against the virus, so it's advisable to plan early. It's important to remember that flu vaccines only protect against strains that figure to be most prominent during the coming season, so you should still be wary of coming into contact with sick people and aim to wash your hands regularly.
Browse other covered expenses with the Eligibility List.
- Know the symptoms
The flu is often characterized by coughing, chills, fever, headache, body aches, runny nose and a sore throat, and the illness can be contracted by anyone at any age. If you notice that a loved one is having trouble breathing or exhibiting these types of symptoms, don't hesitate to make an appointment with a doctor to have him or her checked out (the cost of which can be reimbursed through your FSA!) Additionally, if it is a young child, be sure to notify babysitters and other people he/she may have come into contact with recently.
- Prepare ahead with cold/flu supplies
With an FSA at your disposal, the early fall is the perfect time to use those tax-free funds you've accrued over the course of the year to prepare for the many colds and viruses your family will contend with over the course of the cold weather months.
Antihistamines, cough syrup/drops, effervescent tablets, expectorants, pain relief medications and much more are covered by your FSA or HSA when prescribed by your doctor, and getting your prescription to purchase then now before cold and flu season will help you stay ahead of potential ailments all season long.
For example, did you know thatVicks Warm Steam vaporizers are covered?
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Before flu season hits, be sure to check out FSAstore.com for everything you need to support your family's health and wellness.We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products and a simple prescription process to help you make the most of your employee benefits!
While spring is an exciting time of year for many, it also brings the less-than-fun allergy season! Treat your allergy with a Flexible Spending Account.
Allergy season is upon us! While spring is an exciting time of the year for many people, it also brings allergy symptoms! If you're coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and have watery, itchy eyes, these could be byproducts ofan allergy.
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can be a part of the solution to fight seasonal allergies. You can use an FSAwhether it's by visiting a doctor, taking over-the-counter medication, or checking out drug-free FSA-eligible products to treat an allergy.
Below are a few ways to fight the symptoms and enjoy the warm weather this season has to offer.
Using a Flexible Spending Account to Fight Allergy Symptoms
1. Visit your doctor. If you're not sure if you suffer from an allergy (but think you might be having symptoms - sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, for example), it's not a bad idea to ask your doctor more about it. Your doctor might recommend you have an allergy test done to determine which allergens you react to.
Browse Covered Expenses via our Eligibility List
2. Take antihistamines. If you have severe allergic symptoms, your doctor may recommend you take over-the-counter medications to treat your allergies. If you want to buy anantihistamine (like Claritin or Zyrtec) with your Flexible Spending Account, you would need a prescription for that item to get reimbursed by your account. This is due to changes that began on January 1, 2011, which require a prescription for any OTC products containing active medicines (that would include Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin, and other medications).
FSA Store can help you process your doctor's prescriptions - whether you email us your doctor's prescription or we can contact your doctor for you (or the doctor can fax it over).
Learn about our Rx process
3. Spring clean your home. Keep allergens (outdoor pollen, for example) at a minimum by frequently cleaning your home.
4. Use nasal sprays and warm steam vaporizers. These types of products keep your nasal passages clear to prevent any sinus issues.
Shop for Cold & Allergy products at FSA Store
It seems everywhere you turn this week, allergies are out of control. Whether you're commuting to work, walking around the park, or even waiting in line at the store, it seems that allergy season is in full swing.
Sneezing, sniffling, itchy eyes...they're all tell-tale signs of allergies.
Why would you suffer through these symptoms?
Did you know a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help you fight off allergy symptoms? Check out FSA eligible products for allergy relief and save up to 40% by using your FSA on our site.
You can easily shop for FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com whether you have an FSA card or not. An FSA card works much like a debit card in that it automatically deducts the payment from your FSA funds. You won't have to deal with any more paperwork as a result, which saves you time and energy. Not all FSA plans provide an FSA card, though. If you don't have an FSA card, simply use a major credit card or debit card at checkout and submit a receipt to your FSA administrator for reimbursement. It's best to check in with your FSA administrator to find out how claims are processed under your plan, that way you save yourself time and find more information about any necessary paperwork.
With an FSA, you can shop for these items (and more) to get relief:
- neti pots
- saline solution or nasal spray
- cooling headache sheets
- Allergy medicines are available with an FSA with a prescription from your doctor. You need to obtain a prescription due to healthcare reform changes that started in January 2011. You only need a prescription if you plan to get reimbursed for these products with your Flexible Spending Account. We can also help you process your prescriptions through our Rx Process.
Curious about anything else an FSA may cover? Browse FSA eligible expenses in our newly expanded Eligibility List. The Eligibility List lets you sort through 800 different products and services, and view these based on the plan you have including FSAs, Health Savings Accounts, and more!
While this time of year brings a dazzling color palette, warm temperatures and a bright outlook, it can be a nightmare for anyone with seasonal allergies. Pollen, grass and other allergens can trigger sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes and general discomfort for much of the early portion of spring.
Luckily, your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can provide allergy relief. There’s a bevy of greatFSA eligible productsthat can provide relief during allergy season, as well as a few changes to your everyday routine that can pay dividends in the early spring.
Here are a few handyFSA eligible productsto look into:
Use a daily antihistamine
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and other generic products are extremely effective in limiting nasal congestion and other common symptoms that are prevalent for those with seasonal allergies. Just be sure to ask your doctor for a prescription in order to get reimbursement for your FSA.
Invest in saline spray
- If you never seem to be too far away from a box of tissues in April and May, saline spray could help you kick those Kleenex to the curb. WebMD suggests using a saline nasal rinse in the morning to clear out your sinuses, as well as bringing along a small bottle of saline spray to clear out your nasal passages throughout the day.
Purchase in eye drops
- Eye protection is a key concern during allergy season. Simply being exposed to the outdoors can inevitably lead to pollen and other particulates causing watery, red and irritated eyes. Wearing sunglasses can cut down on the amount of allergens that accumulate around your eyes, and investing in eye care products like eye drops can refresh your eyes throughout the day.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies and have an FSA,make sure you take advantage of the great deals offered at FSAstore.com. With thousands of FSA eligible products, make this allergy season a walk in the park you’ll actually be looking forward to!
Coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and itching eyes. When you experience these symptoms, you know allergy season is here.
The 2013 allergy season is looking slightly more severe based on recent news reports. Predictions forecast a longer season for allergy sufferers to deal with.
According to WebMD*:
- One in five Americans suffer from allergy or asthma symptoms.
- Allergies cost the U.S. health care system and businesses about $7.9 billion a year, as one estimate suggests.*
- Global warming could be a contributing factor to a longer ragweed pollen season, which has increased by four weeks in the past 10-15 years.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell your allergy symptoms apart from a cold
Flex Spending Allergy Relief
Luckily, there are ways to alleviate allergy symptoms with your FSA. FSA-eligible allergy and immunology procedures at the allergist office such as allergy tests are an FSA eligible expense.
As far as eligible products go, you have a few options. A number of allergy relief products are eligible without a prescription, whereas others require a prescription to be reimbursed under your flex spending account. Check them out at FSAstore.com!