Spring is in the air. While we’ve all looked forward to sunnier days and warming temperatures, we should be on alert for common ailments that are ushered in alongside a seasonal shift.
Here, Eden clinicians Dr. Heather Towery and Dr. Anish Mehta help us understand what spring illnesses we should be aware of and how to best prepare for them.
Runners and cyclists may be excited to exercise comfortably outside now that the temperature is more forgiving, but it may come at a cost. “We see a lot of patellofemoral syndrome or plantar fasciitis once people are active and start running or doing outdoor activities again,” said Dr. Mehta.
Patellofemoral syndrome is known as “runner’s knee” and is a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap is damaged due to injury or overuse. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, treatment for patellofemoral syndrome is often remedied with at-home treatments such as switching to low-impact activities (like riding a stationary bike or swimming), resting, icing, compression, or elevation.
Plantar fasciitis, on the other hand, occurs when a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot and connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed, leading to heel pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people recover from plantar fasciitis within several months with treatments that may include icing, stretching, modifying or avoiding activities that cause pain, using over-the-counter pain relievers, or working with a physical therapist.
Dr. Mehta’s advice for resuming outdoor activities: be honest about where you’re at. “If you are increasing your outdoor physical activity, you can’t pick up where you left off back in October. Start low and take it slow to avoid strain or injury.”
There are a number of different illnesses to be on the lookout for once spring arrives:
- Asthma: Seasonal changes can lead to asthma flares or other respiratory illness flares
- Allergies: The emerging spring scenery may be nice to look at, but any allergy sufferer knows what kind of havoc the blooming of certain flowers, plants, or weeds can wreak on your physical health. “Start taking daily allergy medication, like Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec, in early March, or at least one week before seasons change,” Dr. Mehta advised. “Nasal steroid sprays are also really helpful and underutilized for allergies.”
- Tick-borne illnesses: Illnesses transmitted by ticks, such as Lyme Disease, tend to peak in the spring. According to the New York Department of Health, adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Dr. Towery recommends stocking up on bug spray with DEET to ward off ticks in the spring and summer months.
- Hayfever: While hayfever symptoms may mirror a common cold or seasonal allergies, seasonal allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hayfever) is an allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from trees, grass, and weeds.
HOW EDEN HEALTH CAN HELP
While most seasonal illnesses can be managed at home, it’s important to check in with your primary care provider if you’re concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing. According to Dr. Mehta and Dr. Towery, you should contact your Eden or another healthcare provider if you find that allergy symptoms aren’t resolving with over-the-counter medications or if you’re experiencing a fever that accompanies typical symptoms.
If you’re not an Eden member and want a collaborative care benefit that unifies primary care, mental health services, and healthcare navigation support, your HR team can contact us today to request a demo and learn more about our direct-to-employer healthcare offering.
This blog is intended to be informational in nature. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your Care Team or other healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.