With spring upon us, seasonal allergies are most likely right around the corner. Most allergy sufferers are probably preparing for watery eyes and an itchy nose. However, contrary to popular belief, people who suffer from allergies do not have to live with them.
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system experiences an abnormal reaction with a particular substance in the environment. In general, most people suffer from seasonal allergies, which occur in spring, early summer, and early fall. Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen. Pollens are microscopic cells from trees, grasses and weeds.
Symptoms & Tips
Typical symptoms for allergy sufferers may include an itchy and runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. Some people, especially children, can develop allergic asthma.
These symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. To help control these symptoms, try practicing these tips:
- If possible, keep windows and doors shut during pollen season, especially during the daytime.
- Drive with your windows closed.
- Keep pets that spend time outdoors out of the bedroom.
- If outdoors on days with high pollen counts, take a shower and wash your hair after returning indoors.
- Dry laundry in a dryer only; do not hang clothes outside.
- Try taking over-the-counter antihistamines.
If little success is found after trying these steps, it may be time to see a specialist.
A specialist will determine the cause of the allergies through skin, blood, or breathing testing and create a treatment plan. Multiple solutions are available to control symptoms. One option is prescription medication, including prescription nasal steroid sprays.
If the allergies are severe enough, and avoidance of allergens and prescription nasal sprays do not work, patients may be candidates for allergy shots. Allergy shots work well for 80 percent of patients, because they can desensitize patients to the allergen. In some cases, patients claim cure over five years.
Get the Help You Need This Spring
Allergy symptoms are controllable when taking the proper steps to manage them. For more information on how to control your allergies, please visit the OSF Medical Group to learn more about OSF Allergy. Don’t hesitate to call our office to find out how our staff can help you.