The return of a lush green and vibrant landscape usually means seasonal allergies are in full bloom because of plant pollen. In addition to a yellow coating on your vehicle, pollen is the main culprit of allergy symptoms that can make you feel miserable. In fact, those symptoms are the immune system’s response to an invader.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from a range of allergy symptoms each year, with the most common being sneezing, coughing, runny nose, congestion, and itchy eyes, nose, mouth and throat.
If you aren’t looking forward to what Spring has to offer your allergies, be prepared to prevent frequent flare-ups.
CHRISTUSHealth.org is a great resource for tips on how to take control; just search seasonal allergies:
• Know your triggers- You need to know which allergens bother you and if they are a spring bloom.
• Stay inside- I get it! Outside is where it’s at: bright sunny days, enjoying warmer weather. But if your trigger is out there waiting for you, stay away. Otherwise, you are welcoming an attack.
• Wear a mask- While it cannot guarantee protection, wearing a mask when outside will reduce the allergens you breathe. This can prevent or reduce an allergic reaction.
• Clean up- When you do head outside, be sure to change your clothes, wash your hands or shower to remove the pollen. You need to get the allergens off your body.
• Keep it outside- Keep the pollen outside; try to refrain from opening windows and doors for long periods of time.
• Treat your symptoms- In most cases, over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays are common and effective for allergy treatment and prevention.
Sometimes guarding yourself against allergies just isn’t enough, and you may need to see your physician or an allergy specialist to get the desired relief. Immunotherapy (an allergy shot) is used to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms in cases where other medications and treatments aren’t working. Immunotherapy exposes your immune system to pollen in small doses to help build up your body’s resistance. This course of treatment usually lasts for long periods of time. For some patients, immunotherapy has been credited with resolving all of their allergy symptoms.
Seasonal allergies don’t have to slow you down. If you need relief, schedule an appointment with a primary care provider to take the first step to breathing better this Spring and in every season.
Erica Butler, PA-C, see patients at CHRISTUS Primary Care- Shreveport. She is board-certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She enjoys working in a clinic setting and being able to form close relationships with patients, to provide the best care and treatment possible.