Healthwatch: Fighting Seasonal Allergies


Spring is here and with it comes the familiar symptoms: stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, red eyes.

Thirty percent of people with allergies only suffer in the spring. The trigger for that misery is pollen and this time of year, it's mostly from trees and grass.

If you're allergic to these tiny particles, your body will view them as invaders and your cells will release chemicals called histamines which rev up your system to expel the pollen by sneezing, coughing and watering eyes.

"One of the things that’s not often emphasized is that people actually feel bad with allergies," said allergies Dr. David Tanner. "They have a lack of energy. They feel ill. They don't feel well. I liken it to having a low grade cold but it keeps going and going and going."

There are steps you can take to stay allergy-free this season. The number one way is to stay indoors, but if you can't resist a spring fling try these tips.

Stay inside when the pollen count is at it's highest. Keep those windows up. No driving with the top down, and shower after spending time outside. Pollen can collect on your skin and hair.

Over the counter medications are another option, but they can have side effects.

"The problem with over the counter formulas is they've got one major side effect, and that's sedation," said Dr. Ann Marie Gordon of
Washington Hospital Center.

If you're still sniffling and sneezing, try heading to the doctor's office. They can give you non-drowsy formulas and if necessary allergy shots.

Finding what works for you is the most important thing because although tree and grass pollen is starting to kick up now, this summer will bring its own set of allergens.

Read all previous WTOK Healthwatch articles here.

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