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Allergy Season in Full Swing


Allergy Season in Full Swing

By Susan Brady

Allergy season is upon us, and the 35+ million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies are in for a difficult time. Right now tree pollen is in full swing, sprinkling yellow dust on cars and in nasal cavities.

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The unfolding sunshine and warmer weather translates to outdoor activities and an increase in symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy throat, and burning, watery eyes.

Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause of seasonal allergies. When pollen is present in the air, it can land in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs and on the skin, setting up an allergic reaction. From now until late fall, there is a barrage of culprits, from this month’s trees to the grass and weeds that will spring up after the rains. Mold will also rear its ugly spore-head sometime this summer and take hold until the cold weather moves back in.

Completely avoiding these pollens is virtually impossible, but there are precautions allergy sufferers can take to reduce their exposure.

• Keep windows closed to prevent pollens from drifting into your home

• Minimize early and mid-morning activity between 5-10 a.m. when pollen levels tend to be the highest

• Keep your car windows closed when traveling

• Find out what the pollen counts and types of pollen found in your area. Stay indoors when the pollen count is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air

• Avoid mowing the lawn and freshly cut grass

• Machine dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry

• Take a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea.

Doctors also recommend using eye drops, nasal sprays or other allergy medications before you go outside or have a flare-up. Treatments include over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines such as Benadryl, Clarinex, Zyrtec, or Allegra; oral decongestants like Sudafed; nasal decongestants like Afrin and Dristan; steroid nasal sprays, including Beconase, Rhinocort, Nasonex, Flonase, and Veramyst; and drugs that combine antihistamines and decongestants like Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D.

When symptoms are not adequately controlled by medications, allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, are also an option. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reported that allergy shots can reduce the symptoms in up to 85 percent of patients. Treatment often occurs over a three- to five-year time span, but many people begin to experience significant relief within the first year.

Other options you may want to discuss with your health care provider include the use of nasal irrigation with saline solution, which is available without a prescription, acupuncture, and herbal preparations such as butterbur.
Source: healthnews.com



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