Allergy Season Hits Hard
For millions of people – Spring or even winter brings more than just sunshine or frozen temperatures. Any season can bring sneezes, itchy eyes, red eyes, stuff nose, headaches, sleepless nights, and much more. But allergy season is often the worst.
Not only are those with allergies affected, asthma sufferers also are feeling the pinch. There seems to be a relation in some patients between allergies and asthma.
Trees, plants, weeds, and other plant-like spores are being grown, maturing, and being dispersed as part of the annual celebration of spring.
High winds are kicking up pollen around the country. We open our car windows and the windows at our house. Pollen and other materials are being blown into those areas. Often patients are confused by allergies – they may not have touched a pet – but suddenly they feel as if they are being attacked. The simplest reason – open windows.
Hay Fever is often the word used along with Allergies. But it can also be called allergic rhinitis – which refers to allergies causing Inflammation of the nose.
Allergies can cause Allergic Conjunctivitis – which is when the white part of the eye becomes extremely red due to itching, scratching, and drainage in the eye.
Learn more about Pollen Count
– Pollen Count is a measurement
– It measures the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air.
– The higher the number, the more people will suffer if they have hay fever
– It can be a general number – non specific
– It can be more specific to Grass, Ash, Alder, Oak, Mulberry, Pine, Sycamore, Wilow, Nettle, Sheep Sorrel/Cock, Ragweed, Olive, and more.
– The type of Pollen Count is often determined by location
– A rod is placed into the air that is rotated and collects the pollen
– It is believed that by the year 2040, the pollen count is expected to double.
The Future of Pollen Count
– Scientist are working on a pollen warning service to map pollen count around the country and the world.
– Allergy specialists are looking to better understand pollen year round.
– They are also trying look at trends and consistency of pollen and how it affects those specific areas.
Hay Fever Season
– The suffers of allergies can have symptoms year round
– But hay fever has a season from April to September
– Around 1 in 5 are affected.
– Typically Trees are what hit us first in the season – typically from March through June
– Following Trees are Grasses from May through August.
– Lastly after Grasses are Weeds from August though October and beyond.
Tips for Prevention of Hay Fever
– Keep your doors and windows closed both at home and in your car
– Place some Vaseline inside the nose to trap pollen when you breath.
– Sunglasses can help prevent pollen from entering your eyes.
– Avoid mowing the grass and working in the garden….if possible.
– Don’t dry your clothes outside…if possible.
– Wash your hair often
– Change clothes after working outside
Treatment for Hay Fever
1.) Nasal Corticosteroids (Nasal sprays with steroids)
– This is a prescription that decreases inflammation.
– This may include Flonase, Nasacort, Nasonex, Rhinocort and more.
– This is often an oral pill
– Can be benedryl, Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec and more.
– There are some eye drops in this category
– These are available over-the-counter (OTC)
– These could be liquids, oral tablets, or nasal sprays
– Oral: Sudafed and Drixoral
– Nasal sprays: Afrin, Neo-Synephrine
– Liquid: Variety of combination of Tylenol (Acetaminophen), or Nyquil, or Advil along with others mentioned.
– Initially used for patients with Asthma
– Can help decrease mucus production.
– Nasal spray ipratropium that helps severely runny noses.
– Not effective for congestion, sneezing or postnasal drip.
6.) Allergy Shots
– This is considered immunotherapy
– Regular injections over 3-5 years.
– The goal is to get your body used to the allergen causing your symptoms.
– Other medications may be required but the hope is that less medications will be needed.
7.) Rinsing your sinuses
– Use distilled or sterile saline.
– Quick and inexpensive
– Can be effective to relieve nasal congestion
– Squeeze bottle or use neti pot
– Irrigate or rinse both nasal passages.
8.) Other medications are available or currently being studied.