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Allergies: Learn More, Suffer Less

Allergies: Learn More, Suffer Less

It’s allergy season, a time when our immune systems can overreact to the increase of mold in the air and pollen from blooming trees and flowers. With these allergies come sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. These symptoms, while annoying for many people, can be debilitating for others.

So what are some treatment options?

Taking over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications is one way to reduce allergy symptoms. These include nasal corticosteroid sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines.

Individuals can also take measures to reduce their contact with pollen.

“Some natural ways to help keep allergies under control include changing your air filters at regular intervals, showering or bathing before bed to wash off any pollen that could be attached to your skin and hair, or using the air conditioner instead of opening windows to cool off the inside of your home,” says Candace Wise, DO, Front Royal Family Practice and Multispecialty Clinic. “There’s also some evidence to support that daily intake of local, raw honey could help reduce allergy symptoms.”

When to Contact Your Doctor

A person should consider calling their primary care doctor or a local allergist if they experience seasonal allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Constant ear infections
  • Severe nasal congestion and facial pain
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Symptoms lasting more than three months
  • When OTC medications are not working or create unwanted side effects
  • Or when exposed to pollen or other allergens leads to asthma or respiratory illness or distress

“Allergy sufferers with mild symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes) can usually be managed supportively, through natural measures or over-the-counter remedies,” Dr. Wise says. “However, if your symptoms are persistent or severe, please speak with your doctor about treatment options that would work best for you.”