How To Treat Seasonal Allergies

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By Scott Cimini on March 11, 2012, 9:28am

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So far this winter has been one of the most mild winters on record. In Connecticut, January was the 4th warmest ever and February was the 2nd warmest! What does that mean for us besides getting to enjoy less snow and no frigid temps? Unfortunately this also means we will have an allergy season that starts early and has the potential to be more severe. If you don’t have any allergies, then you are very lucky and probably don’t need to read this article. If you are one of the 55% of Americans who have tested positive for at least one allergen, then pay attention because this article will help you out this allergy season.

I am an allergy sufferer. I’ve had allergies all of my life and the spring and fall months have been brutal sometimes. There are many different kinds of allergies but I’m just going to focus on the seasonal allergies related to weather. There are many different ways to treat allergies and some are more effective than others. Some people just need to take an over the counter pill once a day and they’re fine. Some need allergy shots and an emergency inhaler. I needed to have surgery on my nose to help my breathing and I’ve noticed a great improvement of my allergy symptoms since! Here are some treatment methods commonly used to treat seasonal allergies.

1. Over the counter medications are very common and come in many varieties. There are pills, liquids, eyedrops, and nasal sprays available to the consumer. The two main types of medications over the counter are antihistamines and decongestants. Your body’s immune system goes into action when an allergen is introduced and thus creates histamine. Histamine causes redness, swelling, itching, and changes in secretions. The antihistamines block the histamine receptors and then remove the symptoms of the allergy. Decongestants are used to break up congestion commonly associated with the allergies. Sudafed is the most known decongestant on the market and has been for quite a while.

2. Prescription medications are prescribed to individuals who suffer from allergies more than the typical person. Symptoms are severe enough that a daily medication is needed to keep the patient from suffering 24/7. I no longer need prescription medications but I used to take them every spring and fall. Common medicines are Allegra, Claritin, and the newer one called Zyrtec. They come in varieties with or without the decongestant.

3. Allergy shots are given to people who have really bad allergies. Typically if you suffer from allergies for more than 3 months a year, then you should be getting allergy shots. Shots are given regularly (in the upper arm) with gradually increasing doses. In the beginning the patient will need to get the medicine once or twice a week for several months. If the shots are effective the patient goes for 2-5 years and the symptoms will become milder and milder and even might go away completely!

4. Sometimes people’s allergies are greatly magnified because of nasal polyps and they don’t even know it. If you have really bad allergies I recommend you go see a specialist called an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor. They know exactly what to look for and give excellent personalized advice on how to treat your allergies.

5. If you don’t like to take medications because of the side effects or if taking medication is against your religion, then there is always natural remedies to consider. There are many herbal supplements that you can take that have been shown to help allergies such as butterbur and goldenseal. Butterbur is the most popular right now and several articles published in the British Medical Journal show how butterbur was just as effective as an antihistamine drug and there was no drowsiness. Besides these herbal supplements, many naturopathic doctors also believe that some nutrients can be helpful in lessening seasonal allergy symptoms. Grapeseed extract is one nutrient and it’s found in red wine. A glass of wine a day to treat allergies? Yes please! Good luck to all you allergy sufferers out there and stay healthy this allergy season. Seeing an ear nose and throat doctor is one of the best things I can recommend. You may just have allergies because of something else going on that you weren’t aware of. Let the specialist make a clear diagnosis. I found this video online of a Japanese commercial for seasonal allergy medication. Watch it. It's great!

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Scott Cimini

Town: Wallingford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

Articles: 152

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