By Cindy Aldrige, F.N.P., Provider for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group
Allergy season is upon us. Do you know what the symptoms are? Of course sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes are the first symptoms we think of, but clearing the throat frequently, coughing and head pressure or headaches are other more subtle signs that some don’t think about.
There are different ways to treat allergies and specialist recommendations start with some of these basic non-medication steps.
- Did you think about how much dust and particles are in carpets? Vacuuming doesn’t get rid of anything down deep or tiny particles. Also there are special filters on HVAC units that can greatly reduce symptoms of those in the building.
- Changing your pillowcase regularly because your face rubbing in it overnight can make allergy symptoms start or worsen depending on what the individual is sensitive to.
- How about avoiding smoke/pollutants as a treatment? Not many remember that step!
- OK, here is one that I can attest to the most… KEEP THE WINDOWS CLOSED in your home. For those that suffer from pollen and mold allergies, this is one of the best things that you can do to keep symptoms controlled. I requested windows that don’t open in most of my house because that drives my allergies CRAZY!
- Another one that is less popular these days is hanging clothes/linens out on the line… a bad mistake for allergy sufferers.
- Using a sinus irrigation system that you can get at your local drug store is one of the best preventive and treatment measures. Using distilled water only, not bottled or tap, you can actually rinse out the tiny particles that cause your body to react with tons of mucus and tears!
Okay, what about over the counter allergy medications? How do I choose?
Over the counter products use to be prescription only. They can actually be used effectively and are main line treatment. Allergy specialists are now using nasal steroids like name brand Flonase/Nasacort/Rhinacort for baseline therapy once daily. Be sure to follow the package instructions on administration because often they are not administered correctly. And ideal results are not achieved. (So reading the package insert is really helpful.)
If that alone is not enough to control your allergies, then consider Claritin/Allegra/Zyrtec/Xyzal or a generic equivalent. They work well at stopping the mucus production to help control symptoms.
As we always recommend, please talk to your health care provider about these specific recommendations and what might be right for you and your health. Have a great and active spring /summer 2019!