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Allergies – Your Guide to Understanding and Managing Symptoms

Allergies - Your Guide to Understanding and Managing Symptoms

It might seem like a cold at first, but with over half (54.6%) of U.S. residents estimated to test positive for at least one or more allergens, that stuffy nose might actually be allergies. Since it can be hard to tell, here’s what you need to know about seasonal allergies, and what can be done to reduce or eliminate your symptoms this year.

Question: What is an allergy?

Answer: An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to an inappropriate stimulus, such as dust, food, medication, pet dander, mold…and often in the Springtime pollens, grasses and weeds. The immune system believes it is being invaded by a parasite rather than a harmless allergen in the environment, and therefore it rallies its defenses to fight off the enemy.

Common Symptoms of Allergies Include Congestion, Sneezing, Runny nose, Itchy nose and Eye redness, itchiness and watering.

Although many individuals only have occasional or seasonal allergies, some people may suffer from year-round issues. The best way to find out what you’re dealing with for sure, is to have a medical professional conduct a complete examination of your sinuses, ears and throat. This can help rule out any non-allergy related issues like infection.

A recent study determined 50% of homes had at least six detectable allergens present.

Question: What do I do if it is determined that I have an allergy?

Answer: Fortunately, there are a variety of applicable treatment options that can help reduce and even end allergic reactions. Some of the more common options are over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal decongestants. But there are also physician prescribed options that may be better for some individuals.

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Tips to help reduce effects of seasonal allergies.

  • Avoid going outside when pollen levels are highest – usually morning hours (5am – 10am).
  • Keep doors, windows and vents closed in your home and use air conditioning.
  • Do not go near freshly cut grass, or areas where lawns are being mowed.
  • Change clothing often and shower if you are outside regularly.

Keep an eye on pollen levels near you with the National Allergy Map.

Whether it’s because they have become accustomed to the symptoms of allergies, or they have the misconception that treatment options are inconvenient, many people do not seek out medical treatment for their symptoms. But, generally affordable treatment options, many individuals that suffer from allergies can drastically improve the quality of their lives.

Despite suffering, 25% of people do not seek out testing and treatment.

Make an appointment online today, or call (503) 305-6262 to schedule a quick and painless allergy exam and testing at an AFC clinic near you.