Seasonal Aller-geez not again!

It’s that time of year again! The winter wind has begun to howl and so have your sinuses! If you’re suffering from sneezing, coughing, itchy or burning eyes, or runny nose, you are among the 50 million Americans estimated to have seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.

While the environmental triggers vary from season to season and person to person, ragweed is a common offender in the fall. Although getting skin allergy testing can pinpoint your particular triggers, there are some general measures you can take to manage and treat your allergies:

  1. Avoid the outdoors during high ragweed or pollen days – this information is available through many weather forecasts.

  2. Try over the counter antihistamines such as loratidine or cetirizine. It is often best to start taking them 2 weeks prior to high allergy season.

  3. Steroid nasal sprays are also available over the counter now. Medicines such as fluticasone propionate and mometasone are very safe and effective to use for this frustrating condition.

Before you start treating your symptoms, however, visit your primary care doctor. It is important to distinguish seasonal allergies from a sinus infection, viral illness, or influenza which often present with similar symptoms. Based on a thorough history and physical exam, your doctor can determine the proper diagnosis and guide your treatment. If the conservative measures mentioned above don’t provide enough relief, he or she may then recommend another approach.

Here’s to playing in the snow and keeping out the allergens!


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