On the Environment
As Allergists and Allergy Foundations can attest, the link between our changing environment and allergies is real.
For example, scientific studies have shown that ragweed, the primary allergen trigger of fall allergies, “grows faster, produces more pollen per plant, and has higher allergenic content under increased carbon dioxide levels,” and “longer growing seasons under a warmer climate allow for bigger ragweed plants that produce more pollen later into the fall.” The same goes for tree pollens, the cause of common Springtime allergies, or fungal allergens in the air in Winter, all of which is making life harder for longer for sufferers.
And the environmental decisions we make now, from government policy to corporate practice to individual choices, are going to make a big difference towards our future allergenic potential and allergy/asthma severity.
Every year, people are experiencing more symptoms from their allergies.
An increase in the amount of CO2 in our environment has been shown to result in higher pollen counts.
As an allergist, I see people who have tried to use over the counter medications for years only to find out that they have been misusing these medications or that the medications are simply not as effective as they once were.
Using an integrative approach to how we take care of our body is even more necessary now than ever before and that's why I helped co-found CLEARED – not only to create supplements that are backed by science, but to also help patients understand how to use their medications more effectively…
…and for those that meet the criteria we can stop their allergies by changing their immune response to these allergies with immunotherapy.
Payel Gupta, MD
Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Cleared
Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Cleared
Are these symptoms seasonal allergies…or COVID-19?
Seasonal allergies are here, and unfortunately so is COVID-19. Identifying the differences in symptoms is a positive first step towards seeking the right support and keeping that curve flatter.
There are many similarities between the two conditions which is why we wanted to help you identify some key differences to help you easily differentiate between the two.
The first is fever - if you have one it’s not due to allergies. Although some people call seasonal allergies by the common term hay fever, the condition known as allergic rhinitis does not actually cause fever. So, if you have a fever we’d have to look at other causes.
Another consistent complaint with COVID-19 is that it causes muscle aches or digestive issues: this is not the case with seasonal allergies. The digestive symptoms we are referring to include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are, again, not allergy symptoms.
On the flipside, one of the most frequent and definitive symptoms for people with allergies are itchy, watery eyes and nose: this is not common for COVID-19 infection.
Some of the symptoms that are similar for both can include fatigue, congestion and cough:
- Fatigue associated with COVID-19 is usually debilitating and does not allow you to get out of bed; whereas fatigue associated with allergies usually comes from simply not sleeping well (which should not warrant long-term bed rest)
- Congestion can occur with both, but if you’re having itching along with the congestion it is most likely allergies (not COVID-19)
- If you have allergies you may have a cough from an irritation at the back of your throat from an itch and/or post nasal drip; if you have allergic asthma you may also have a cough related to your allergies (with asthma, using your asthma inhaler usually gives you immediate relief of the cough and shortness of breath if related to asthma but may not help as much with a COVID-19); but cough from COVID-19 will be a dry cough and is sometimes associated with shortness of breath (which again will not improve immediately as it does with asthma)
Fatigue associated with COVID-19 is usually debilitating and does not allow you to get out of bed; whereas fatigue associated with allergies usually comes from simply not sleeping well (which should not warrant long-term bed rest)
Congestion can occur with both, but if you’re having itching along with the congestion it is most likely allergies (not COVID-19)
If you have allergies you may have a cough from an irritation at the back of your throat from an itch and/or post nasal drip; if you have allergic asthma you may also have a cough related to your allergies (with asthma, using your asthma inhaler usually gives you immediate relief of the cough and shortness of breath if related to asthma but may not help as much with a COVID-19); but cough from COVID-19 will be a dry cough and is sometimes associated with shortness of breath (which again will not improve immediately as it does with asthma)
In addition, if you have a sudden onset of loss of smell or taste you should immediately consult your doctor, as both symptoms have been associated with allergies as well as COVID-19.
In all cases, should you still be confused or experiencing your symptoms worsen, call your healthcare provider.
In addition, you can also use CLEAR’s telemedicine and our team of allergists to help you find the answers you need, we are here to help.
— Payel Gupta, MD
Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder, Cleared
Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder, Cleared
Environmentally-conscious shouldn’t be so difficult.
As consumers, we’ve all bought enough products to know that it’s possible to package them in environmentally responsible, recyclable materials — take, glass for example. So why does the packaging industry make it so hard for companies to use it?
Compared to plastic packaging, glass is a much safer material from a creation and recyclability standpoint.
First, glass can be recycled over and over and never lose its integrity. Meanwhile, plastic loses integrity as it’s recycled, and needs to be turned into a different material, such as plastic lumber or carpet padding. Because of this, some say plastic isn’t truly recycled, but rather downcycled.
Second, glass jars can be made from recycled glass. But when a product is packaged in a common plastic bottle, jar, or other container, it’s often made out of newly created plastic.
And, when you look into how we get glass or plastic materials in the first place, that’s when glass really becomes the clear winner.
Glass bottles are made of liquified sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass. While it’s true that limestone mining can contaminate water, contribute to noise pollution, and destroy habitat for animals who live in limestone caves, the raw materials that go into making glass bottles are, still, widely available in the U.S. already.
Plastic manufacturing, on the other hand, has a much more negative impact on the environment — and our health. To get to the crude oil and natural gas needed to produce plastics, we must head to the Earth’s crust. And because oil and natural gas are buried beneath layers of bedrock, we have to drill for oil drill deep and frack for natural gas wherever possible.
This is destroying our environment and putting our health at risk.
Plastic bottles are everywhere, and plastic-based bags are still the go-to material for many manufacturers.
When you consider the actual recycling rates of glass and plastic, it’s even more frustrating. Glass bottles are 100 percent recyclable and an estimated 80 percent of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles. But with plastic, the recycling rate is frighteningly low. In 2014, only 9.5 percent of plastic material in the U.S. was recycled at all. The rest was combusted for energy or sent to a landfill—where it could either find its way out and pollute our planet, or sit in the landfill for up to 500 years before finally decomposing.
We need more glass co-packers to partner with companies who want sustainable packaging. We need a more durable, effective, and cost-efficient paper alternative to plastic bags. And most of all, those who work in the packaging industry need to take a hard look at themselves, and ask: Why is the environmentally responsible thing so hard to do?
Adaptive Innovation is Healthcare’s Future
Whilst it is hard to forecast the future, there are presently changing landscapes in healthcare that are just too significant and predictive to ignore.
The sands are shifting at great speed and, in order to be there when they settle, we at Cleared have focused our business model around adaptive innovation.
Technology & Healthcare are Colliding
Despite significant advances in drug development and diagnostics, there has been little disruption in healthcare delivery and the patient experience. COVID-19 did the disrupting for us, and now we see a more pressing imperative for technology to bring healthcare into the relevancy of this century: making healthcare delivery and consumption feel more like the interactions we have every day with similarly future-focused innovators like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and Expedia, to name but a few.
Patient-centered Control is Inevitable
The fast growing tide of ‘social group help treatment’ and the democratization of knowledge and expertise means there will be a shift in the way that people treat their health conditions. We see doctors becoming more like freelancers in the future, with communities of experts popping-up where demand dictates. Testing will increasingly be delivered to the home or office, and micro-communities of like-minded health advocates will rise within them.
Informed Patient Choice is New and Powerful
Patients telling us how they want their care delivered is relevant to the changing dynamic of the patient–doctor relationship and how they want to live their treatment. We have been working with our global manufacturer and homecare partners to pioneer new community care models that give patients control of where and how they receive their treatment, so as little of their life changes as possible.
Consumerism & Patient Empowerment is Changing Patient Support
There is a notable shift away from traditional education and adherence towards holistic disease management programs, with the goal of enhancing patient engagement. We have been working with experts in allergy treatment to ensure that there are multiple channels a patient can go down depending on the type of solution they are interested in, rather than some one-size-fits-all recommendations.
The Rise of Chronic Conditions.
Chronic conditions are likely to escalate against a backdrop of limited resources and help. Governments and healthcare systems will be unable to cope with the frequency of these diseases using their current structures. Other modes of intervention will be needed that don’t rely on old models of health and wait times.
At Cleared, adaptive innovation means doing different by being different, and that's making all the difference. And that’s what we’re asking our customers to do; rather than doing the same thing season after season, try a new approach to achieve new health results.