Did you know that more than 24 million Americans—and 6 million children—suffer from seasonal allergies? We are near the peak of allergy season when dry, watery itchy eyes, sneezing and stuffiness take over what should be a bright and happy welcome to spring. Allergic rhinitis, or more commonly known as allergies, is an inflammatory disease which develops when your immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment. The most common seasonal allergies stem from tree pollen.
There are two types of allergies: seasonal and perennial. People with seasonal allergies are typically affected by allergen prevalent throughout the various seasons, namely spring, summer, and fall. These allergens can be from mold spores or pollen from trees, grass or weeds. Conversely, those with perennial allergy experience allergy symptoms face year-round afflictions, most commonly related to dust mites or pet dander. Allergy symptoms typically include itchy nose, itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose or feeling tired due to poor sleep.
“While many of us know about allergy symptoms, we may not correlate the constant fatigue felt throughout the day with them directly. When allergies are severe enough, it can negatively impact your quality of life,” said Dr. Robert Marchlewski, an allergist and asthma specialist at ENT and Allergy Associates in Garden City. “We suggest that individuals consult their allergist to get a better idea of their own allergies and find the best path forward in treating them.”
Allergy testing is one of the most certifiable means in which to identify potential allergies. Through skin-prick testing or blood examinations, physicians can more accurately predict allergic reactions. Correctly identifying allergy triggers is a key component of effective management.
Treatment options for allergies can vary based on the person, but the most common and accessible treatment options are environmental control, medications and immunotherapy. For the upcoming pollen allergy season, there are steps you can take to help to reduce your allergy symptoms.
Try staying indoors whenever possible, especially when pollen counts are high or at their peak. You also may want to keep windows of your home, workplace and car closed during peak pollen seasons. It’s also a good idea to use air conditioning whenever possible, especially in warmer weather.
Be sure to wash your hands and face to remove pollen and shower and shampoo your hair at bedtime to wash off accumulated pollens. It’s also smart to wash bedding once a week using hot water.
For persistent symptoms, many allergy sufferers pursue the use of medications—either prescribed or over-the-counter—to ease the harsh allergy side effects. Intranasal steroid and antihistamines are commonly used for this purpose. For some, immunotherapy may be recommended, of which there are two types: allergy shots and sublingual tablets (under-the-tongue).
To learn more about ENTA, visit www.entandallergy.com.
—Submitted by ENT and Allergy Associates LLP