As spring blooms, so do allergy symptoms! The itchy nose and eyes are a dead giveaway it's no longer a winter cold.
Americans spend nearly $6 billion a year on allergy medications. When those drug-store medicines aren't working anymore, Cotton-O'Neil Dr. Saakwa Mante says it's time to see an allergist for testing. He's being tested helps you know what exactly is triggering your symptoms. That way, he says, you know what time of year that particular pollen or mold comes about and you can take precautions.
Precautions could mean stronger prescription medications or allergy shots. Whatever the case, Dr. Mante suggests starting two to four weeks before your allergy peaks to build up a defense.
"It's like whoever gets there first wins," Dr. Mante said. "If the medication gets there first, it gets an advantage over the allergies. If the pollen gets there first, it wins over you."
It could be allergies aren't really your problem at all. If medication isn't giving you relief, your doctor might check for sinusitis or asthma. Dr. Mante says cases where coughing is a major symptom or where there is wheezing or shortness of breath might actually be asthma. If symptoms include headache or a greenish nasal discharge, it could be sinusitis. Leaving those problems untreated could lead to complications. In the case of asthma, it could be fatal.
If it is allergies, besides medication, try avoiding the triggers by staying indoors, keeping your house and car windows closes, avoiding freshly cut grass or drying laundry outdoors, and wash your hair before bed to get out pollen you might have picked up during the day.
Dr. Mante also points out many over-the-counter medications cause drowsiness. Many newer prescription meds can help you feel better without making you sleepy.