If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may have started to notice a runny nose or itchy eyes. From avoiding allergic triggers to options for preventing and treating symptoms, here are several suggestions to manage your seasonal allergies.
- Common misconceptions about allergies. People often assume their nasal and respiratory symptoms are due to the common cold, when, in fact, the symptoms are manifestations of seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies often bother patients the same time each year and last for several weeks at a time; whereas the common cold should be short-lived and resolve within 7-10 days.
- Diagnosing, managing or curing allergies. Allergists can diagnose allergies through skin testing, blood testing or challenge testing. They will discuss avoidance measures with patients, including environmental changes that can be made in and around the home to avoid particular allergens. Allergists will prescribe over-the-counter and/or prescription medications to help control symptoms, but at this point there is no true “cure” for allergies.
- Avoid your allergic triggers. This could include avoidance of environmental allergens such as pets, dust mites, molds and pollen, or avoidance of food allergens, stinging insects or drugs.
- Prevent or control symptoms during allergy season. In terms of environmental allergies, including seasonal allergies, patients can use OTC and/or prescription medications to prevent or control symptoms during their allergy seasons. These medications include antihistamines, nasal decongestants, nasal steroid sprays and allergy eye drops. Allergy immunotherapy or “allergy shots” can be considered as well.
- Presentation of allergy symptoms depends on the type of allergen. The initial symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe and potentially life-threatening. Seasonal and other environmental allergies can present as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion; itchy, red, watery eyes; or cough, wheeze and shortness of breath in patients with asthma.
- Practice avoidance of indoor allergens at home. If you have seasonal allergens, avoid outdoor exposure in the early morning hours, keep your windows closed, run your air conditioner and don’t hang clothes or bed linens outside to dry.
- People and allergens can coexist. As long as people obtain the proper diagnosis, recognize and respect their allergic triggers and practice avoidance measures, people can coexist with allergens. Patients with environmental allergens can avoid triggers and prevent and control symptoms with medications.
If you have concerns about allergies or allergic disorders, please arrange to see an allergist for an appropriate work-up, definitive diagnosis and avoidance recommendations. Learn more about Meriter’s allergists and immunologists.