Doesn’t it seem like seasonal allergies continue to start earlier every year? Interestingly, it’s not a fluke that you find yourself sniffling, sneezing and wishing you could spend the day in bed.
With ever-increasing pollen counts and climate change, allergy season starts sooner and lasts longer. So, the question remains, “How do allergy suffers fend of seasonal allergies?
To clear the air, Dr. Summit Shah of Premier Allergy and Asthma put together the following tips to help you manage your seasonal allergies.
Weeds, trees and grasses release pollen into the air every season, so inhaling these pollens can trigger an allergic reaction of your immune system. Medically known as hay fever, symptoms usually include coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose and watery eyes.
If you suffer from asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) can also increase your risk of flareups. In addition, other pollutants in the air can also cause allergic reactions. These include dust mite droppings and mold spores.
If you think you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, the first step is determining what you’re allergic to. You can do so via blood or skin testing at Premier Allergy and Asthma. Skin testing involves making small pricks on the skin surface and exposing to the suspected allergens.
If redness and swelling occur at the test area, you’re probably allergic to the offending agent.
Antihistamines work by counteracting histamine, which is released during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines have been around for years, but there are also newer over-the-counter medications that work well without causing excessive drowsiness.
There are other oral medications that work well to control seasonal allergy symptoms that don’t cause drowsiness. In addition, nasal antihistamine sprays can reduce symptoms of runny nose and sneezing.
Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays
Corticosteroid nasal sprays are steroids that are similar to the hormones produced by your adrenal glands. Not only do they reduce inflammation, but they also reduce congestion, nasal stuffiness and nasal itching. Nasonex and Flonase are both prescription medications and can be used on a long-term basis.
Non-steroidal nasal sprays are available can be bought without a prescription. These types of medications get to the root cause of your symptoms by preventing the release of histamine. While they can be used long term, they usually aren’t was effective as steroidal preparations.
For those who suffer from weed allergies, fall is another season that can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. Decongestants are effective at reducing the swelling within the nasal passages. However, people suffering from hypertension and or cardiovascular disease should only use decongestants if cleared by their physician. In addition, decongestants shouldn’t be used long term.
If used for extended periods of time, they can actually make congestion worse. Decongestants like Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) are available without a prescription, they’re now but are kept behind the counter because they can be used to make illegal methamphetamines.
Seasonal allergies can also be treated with a series of allergy shots, which help to build up your immunity. Immunotherapy is a series of allergy shots that help build up immunity over a period of 3-5 years. Allergy injections are usually reserved for patients who haven’t responded to alliterative treatment methods.
Things to Consider
Since allergy seasons appear to be lasting longer with each passing year, being proactive can ward off a lot of unpleasant symptoms. For example, allergy suffers can initiate treatment earlier than they expect their symptoms to begin. Even using a nasal steroid spray can lessen, if not completely eliminate allergy symptoms.
At Premier Allergy and Asthma, Dr. Summit Shah also notes that fighting seasonal allergies may take more than simply taking medication. He also recommends minimizing allergens at home and at work environment, if possible. Keep air conditioning and heating filters and vents free of dirt and debris.
If you have pets, you may have to change your air filters more often. During peak allergy season, you should also keep your windows closed. If you have to do yard work, you should also consider wearing a mask or better yet, have someone else do it when pollen counts are high.
Living with seasonal allergies isn’t always easy, however, there are ways to make managing symptoms a little less painful. Be proactive in your health and seek medical attention if your symptoms continue to worsen.