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Brace yourselves for allergy season

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Spring allergy season is upon us.  Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin, and watery eyes. Spring allergy season is upon us. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin, and watery eyes.
Pollen is the leading cause of seasonal allergies. Pollen is the leading cause of seasonal allergies.
It's important to get tested for allergies. It's important to get tested for allergies.
You might find relief in some over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, but more severe cases could require prescription medication. And don't forget to drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. You might find relief in some over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, but more severe cases could require prescription medication. And don't forget to drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.
SHREVEPORT, La -

Spring is in the air, with the scent of budding flowers reinforcing the season's excitement. But while this part of the year is eagerly awaited by a majority, it is also dreaded as an ominous time by the thousands of pollen allergy patients residing in and around the Ark-La-Tex. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin, and watery eyes. Pollen is the leading cause of seasonal allergies.

"Most pollens come in and out in few weeks, but they're scattered. You have a few here and a few here and they overlap and people generally come allergic to a number of pollens," said Dr. Peter Boggs with the Asthma and Allergy Clinic. Dr. Boggs says if you are prone to allergies then antihistamines, anti-inflammatory nasal sprays, and other medications can be used. Most of those medications are sold over the counter. "The idea is to control the allergic reaction and control the inflammatory reaction that follows it," said Dr. Boggs.

Here are some other tips on how allergy sufferers can manage this time of year.

  • Allergy medicine may help many with mild to moderate symptoms. If you think ahead and start these meds before you even experience symptoms. You may keep them away or reduce their severity.
  • It can also help to keep the windows closed and the A/C on to reduce your exposure to the pollen.
  • Take a shower when you get home if you've been outdoors for a while. This will wash away excess pollen.

Unfortunately adults can develop allergies, even when they had none as children.

When allergy symptoms are triggered by the pollen in the air, the condition is referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever.

Hay fever can affect your quality of life; often leading to sinus infections, disrupting your sleep and affecting your ability to learn at school or perform at work.

Aside from pollen, other common allergens that often trigger allergic reactions include dust, certain types of food, animal dander, mold, latex, certain medications and insect stings. That's why it's important to get tested for allergies.

So what's behind your stuffy nose: Spring allergies or a cold? The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gives this table as guidance:

SymptomColdAllergy
CoughUsuallySometimes
General aches and painsSometimesNever
FatigueSometimesSometimes
Itchy EyesRarelyUsually
SneezingUsuallyUsually
Sore ThroatUsuallyUsually
Stuffy NoseUsuallyUsually
Runny NoseUsuallyUsually
FeverRarelyNever

 

RELATED STORY: Cold vs. allergies 

Experts say if you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers. And don't forget to drink plenty of fluids and take it easy, too.

If you have allergies, on the other hand, you might want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine. And if you know the allergy trigger, try to steer clear. Whatever you do, don't take antibiotics. Antibiotics work against bacteria, and bacteria don't cause colds or allergies. Doctors say the more we use them, the more resistant the bacteria are going to be so next time we really need antibiotics, they might not work.

RELATED STORY: The high cost of allergies

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