If you have an itchy nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes when you spend time outdoors, pollinating plants may be the cause. If your symptoms reoccur every March, you might be allergic to a tree or many trees. Grass pollen appears in the later spring. These are called seasonal allergens.
If you experience nasal blockage, congestion, irritated eyes, head fullness and if this occurs with regularity in the all seasons, you may suffer from perennial allergens. Causes may include dust mites, cockroach, cat hair and molds.
An allergist can perform a simple test so you can know with certainty whether or not you have allergies and what you specifically react to. There are three main ways to treat allergies: avoidance, medications and shots.
Knowing what you are allergic to will allow you to consciously avoid exposure to those allergens.
If you are allergic to pollen or outdoor molds it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to avoid exposure because outdoor allergens blow around in the air.
It is a good idea to bathe after spending time outside, wear sunglasses that wrap around your eyes (rather than just sunglasses), use air conditioning in the car and indoors, dry your clothes in a dryer and not outside and close the windows in the house. Exercising indoors is better.
Timing outdoor exposure to pollen is difficult, but it is best to avoid early mornings when pollen levels are at their highest.
Indoor allergens are easier to avoid, but can still cause a problem.
Antihistamines & Other Medications
Antihistamines are the main medicines that are used to treat the symptoms of allergies.
There are antihistamines that can cause sedation (make you sleepy) and ones that don’t. The only non-sedating antihistamine sold over-the-counter is Loratidine (generic Claritin). Your doctor can prescribe Allegra (Fexofenadine) or Clarinex (Desloratidine) both of which are non-sedating, but you must have a prescription. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) is a prescription antihistamine, but it can cause sedation (make you sleepy).
Nasal steroid sprays are medications that are also very helpful. Some nasal steroids are sold over the counter without prescription, some are sold with prescription only. These nasal sprays are commonly used alone or in addition to oral antihistamines. QNasal, Rhinocort, Nasacort, Flonase, Nasonex, Dymista are all available in the United States. All are very similar in providing benefit for the allergy sufferer and work best if used before the allergy season begins to bother you. If you know what you are allergic to, you can prepare to take the nasal steroid sprays before that plant begins to pollinate and prevent, to some degree, your reaction.
There are two nasal sprays that actually contain an antihistamine, called Pataday (Olopatadine) and Astelin (Azelastine), which can help with controlling allergies on a daily basis, or may be used just before or during an allergy problem. It also helps patients with non-allergic rhinitis.
Our practice provides the highest level and quality of allergy injections (immunotherapy) available anywhere in the United States. Allergy injections in the past and even currently in medical offices are not formulated as “High-Dose Immunotherapy.” By providing this high quality we see all of our patients enjoy an allergy free life, without needing medications to control their allergies, this includes treating patients with cat, dog, even horse allergy.
Allergy injections control allergies without using daily medications. In the beginning or build-up phase a patient will need to receive one or two injections weekly for six months.
We also offer a Rapid Build Up – called “Rush Immunotherapy.” This form of allergy shots involves coming in to the office and receive multiple injections on two separate days, this will build you up quickly and after a few visits you will receive injections every other week. After the build-up phase, the shots can be given every other week, every third week, then every fourth week and eventually shots can be spread out to every six weeks. That means you would receive just 8 injections in one year, without needing allergy medication.
Studies show that after five years of immunotherapy up to 98% of children and adults are free from allergies for the rest of their life. A person can start to feel benefits from the injections after just three months.
Injections are given in a doctor’s office, because there may be a serious reaction to the injection. The injections consist of extracts of what the patient is allergic to. Medications can help stop the itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Allergy injections are more effective in treating allergies, in fact we say they cure allergies. They will eliminate the fatigue and “run-down” feeling that many allergy patients suffer from during their allergy season, along with stopping the nasal congestion, itching, sneezing, eye irritation, etc. Allergy injections are made from the actual pollen you are allergic to, so they are not medications or drugs.
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