Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Spring time means warmer weather but for a lot of folks, it also means seasonal allergies.  I grew up getting allergies mostly in the fall.  However, the symptoms are similar.  Some may have all or some of these with varying severity:  

-  sneezing
-  itchy eyes
-  runny nose
-  congestion
-  throat clearing (from post nasal drip)
-  scratchy throat (from post nasal drip)
-  annoying cough
-  overall malaise

I'm beginning to suspect that my three year old may have some spring allergies.  Sometimes it is tough to differentiate between allergy symptoms and cold symptoms.  When in doubt, always check with your physician, but in general colds will have certain characteristics you don't typically find in allergies like:

-  fever
-  yellow/green mucous

So what do you do when you have allergies?  It helps to know what you are allergic to avoid the triggers as much as possible.  Most people just take general measures to decrease allergy symptoms such as:

-  staying indoors and keeping windows/doors shut (especially if the triggers are outdoors)
-  change your clothes and shower after coming in from outside
-  washing bedsheets at least weekly in hot water (needs to be > 130 degrees to kill dust mites)
-  keep pets away from bedrooms (may need to not have pets if allergic to them)
-  dust/vacuum often and avoid rugs/carpets if possible

Most folks can take over the counter allergy medication with relief such as claritin, zyrtec, or allegra.  However, if the symptoms are more severe one may need prescription allergy medication and may also get added benefit from prescribed nasal steroid inhalers and/or an antihistamine inhaler.  These are especially helpful if one has postnasal drip causing a cough.  Eye drops may also be prescribed to help with itchy, watery eyes.

In addition, one may get referred to an allergist for more specific testing and for potential allergy shots.