Q: I always have allergies in the spring, and sometimes nothing works to reduce my symptoms. What can I do?
A: Spring is here, along with pollen and allergies. The pollen count is high this year so those who suffer are looking at a difficult season. People with asthma and other pulmonary problems can face serious health risks with the onset of allergy symptoms.
Although the list is long, typically spring allergens include trees, grass, and weed pollen; dust mite and cockroach droppings; cat, dog and rodent dander. Reactions can progress to life threatening anaphylactic shock in severely sensitive individuals. For most of us it is the sniffles, sneezing, and occasionally headaches, vomiting or cramps.
Hints to reduce seasonal symptoms include starting medications immediately with onset of mild illness. There are a number of over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, which can be effective in almost half the symptomatic population. However, there are medical conditions like high blood pressure and asthma that limit treatment choices. Your doctor should be consulted before you start OTC medications.
Other suggestions for those with difficulties include purchasing high quality filters for your air conditioner that should be changed each spring or as recommended; planning outdoor gardening activity when the pollen count is low; using indoor vaporizers and humidifiers; and keeping car windows closed when driving.
An allergist can determine if you are a candidate for desensitization treatment. Severe allergies can be disabling and undermine the wonderful spring weather.
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