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Spring Allergies
Mar 31st, 2013 Headlines

A mild winter and early spring isn’t good news for everyone. It can cause real problems for allergy sufferers.

The type of winter we had can cause trees to pollinate early and bring a premature start to the spring allergy season.  Mild winters can also lead to more mold. This isn’t good for people with allergies to mold, medications especially if there are warm temperatures and rain.  It’s certainly not too early for people to start preparing for a long season ahead.

The symptoms of spring allergies include runny nose, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, an itchy throat, a dry cough, and dark circles under eyes.  Allergens like pollen can also trigger an asthma attack in people with asthma leading to wheezing, and chest tightness, cough, and trouble breathing.  If you notice that every spring your eyes and nose are itchy and runny, you most likely have seasonal spring allergies.

Additionally, you can be formally tested by an allergist to see what you might be allergic to, but that isn’t always necessary.  A skin test is commonly performed, which involves injecting a tiny amount of an allergen like tree pollen, grass and weed pollens, and molds under the skin to see if there is a local reaction, such as a hive.  There are also blood tests that can look for antibodies to certain allergens.

So, what is the best way to avoid an attack? Stay indoors whenever the pollen count is very high. It is important to remember that pollen counts usually peak in the morning.  Keep your doors and windows closed whenever possible during the spring months to keep allergens out. Don’t forget that this includes the windows and doors in your car. An air purifier may also help.  Make sure to shower every night to get rid of any pollen that might be on your skin or hair.  You definitely don’t want to take that to bed with you.

Thankfully, there are varieties of medications- both over-the-counter and by prescription-that can help ease your symptoms.  These medications include antihistamines, nasal steroids, decongestants, and eye drops.  Don’t worry; you and your doctor can find the combination that is right for you.

To watch the NECN Morning Show video, click Dr. Mallika Marshall: Seasonal Allergies.

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