If you view spring with a certain degree of trepidation because it means an outbreak of spring allergy symptoms, you are not alone. One in five Americans suffer from allergies each year and spring allergies cause a multitude of symptoms ranging from stuffy noses and sneezing to itchy eyes and coughing.
According to American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), 23.6 million Americans were diagnosed with hay fever in the last year. The prevalence of allergies is surging upward, with as many as 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children having at least one allergy.
As a local allergist who specializes in treating allergy and asthma, I would be happy to speak with you about how allergy sufferers can enjoy the blooms of spring and avoid the triggers that may leave them sniffling, coughing and sneezing.
It’s a War on Pollen during Spring Allergy Season
Some Weapons Work Better than Others to Keep Your Suffering at Bay
While many people eagerly anticipate spring to see the last of cold weather and snow drifts, others dread the sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and coughing spring allergies bring. They understand the arrival of pollen – whether counts are high or low – means the onset of their misery. But there are ways to prevail in the fight to breathe easy and remain relatively sneeze-free.
“People focus on the highs and lows of pollen counts,” said allergist Cherie Zachary, Midwest Allergy & Asthma. “What they don’t realize is that a high total pollen count doesn’t always mean you will have allergy symptoms. The pollen from the plant you are allergic to may not be high. The key is to know what you’re allergic to, and how to treat your particular symptoms.”
More people than ever suffer from allergies of all kinds. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. One in five Americans suffer from allergies each year. And though spring can bring lots of sneezing and sniffles, it’s important to remember that there are tools at your disposal – whether your suffering is mild or severe.
Following are some factors to keep in mind as you work to keep your spring allergy symptoms under control.
While there isn’t a cure for spring allergies, there are many treatments an allergist can prescribe and/or provide. For more severe symptoms, two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and tablets.
Allergy shots: An immunotherapy treatment program consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, administered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached. Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions, and your allergy, disappear.
Tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014. Starting at least three months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily. Treatment can continue for as long as three years. Only two allergens (grass and ragweed pollens) can currently be treated with this method, but it is may be a good option for patients with grass pollen allergy not controlled with medications.
If you think you might be one of the more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergy and asthma, you can track your symptoms with the free online tool, MyNasalAllergyJournal.org. You can also make an appointment with our Allergy & Asthma Specialist, Dr. Cherie Y. Zachary, by calling (651) 641-6134.