Despite recent cold temperatures, spring is right around the corner.
With the melting snow and thawing of the ground comes the budding of the trees and the beginning of spring allergy season.
Indoor allergies can have a broad range — house dust mites, pets, and mold — and are especially prominent in the winter months. Outdoor mold allergen levels are associated with springtime and extend into the summer, and even the fall.
As if there weren’t enough, another pollen known as weed pollen tends to peak in late summer and early fall.
Tree pollen allergy is the likely culprit that causes sneezing and wheezing in March and April of each year. The yellow-green film we find on our cars and mailboxes on warm, dry spring mornings is tree pollen.
In the midwest region of the United States, tree pollen usually peaks in April and is followed by a peak of grass pollen in May.
Some patients find relief of their allergy symptoms with medication, either over-the-counter or prescription. Medicinal remedies include antihistamines with or without decongestants, nose sprays, and eye drops. Attempting to limit exposure to pollen and other allergens is difficult since this time of year is perfect for outdoor activities.
The best and longest-lasting treatment for allergy sufferers is a series of allergy shots which should only be prescribed by a board-certified allergist. While shots require a time commitment on the part of the patient, they are the only therapy which actually changes the patient’s system to become less allergic. Other treatments simply reduce the patient’s symptoms but have no effect on the remission of allergies.
If you or your primary care physician thinks you have allergies, the first step is to be seen by a board-certified allergist for appropriate skin testing.
This is a quick office procedure covered by medical insurance. Based on the findings, the allergist will make recommendations specific to your symptoms and your other medical conditions.