Combatting Allergies This Spring

Allergens are in the air year-round in Texas due to its warmer than average climate. However, spring is the most common season for allergies nationwide, and many Texans are likely experiencing a higher intensity of allergy symptoms during this time.

“While there are a plethora of allergens common in Texas throughout the year, during the spring many people tend to suffer effects from juniper, oak, elm, ash and mulberry tree pollen as well as mold spores and various types of grasses and weeds,” said Dr. Christopher Levert, a specialist in internal medicine – pediatrics at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Katy Primary Care & Pediatrics.  

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year. Some people who have allergies in the spring may only experience minor effects, whereas some experience more severe reactions.

“Many people who have seasonal allergies usually stick it out and take over-the-counter medicine as needed to treat symptoms,” said Levert. “However, allergies can be debilitating for many people with constant sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes and throat, and headaches. Symptoms can be even worse for people who have been diagnosed with asthma.”

If you’re suffering from spring allergies, consider taking over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms. This includes antihistamines such as Claritin® or Zyrtec®, which can help with sneezing, itching and runny noses. To ease nasal congestion and sinus pressure, you can take decongestants or use nasal sprays. There are also over-the-counter combination medications that are both antihistamines and decongestants, such as Claritin-D® or Zyrtec-D®.

“If you’ve been trying over-the-counter medications and have no success in easing symptoms, especially if your symptoms make it difficult to go about your day or sleep normally, ask your doctor about other available treatment options, such as allergy shots,” said Levert. “Your doctor may also recommend skin or blood tests to determine what exactly you might be allergic to and should avoid.”

There are also steps you can take to help with decreasing allergens in your home and avoiding situations that could cause symptoms to flare up. This includes using air purifiers indoors, closing windows, cleaning your house regularly and avoid going outside when pollen counts are high.

If you’re suffering from allergy symptoms this spring and over-the-counter medication and other measures aren’t working, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for alternative treatment options.

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Ali Vise