Believe it or not, spring pollen season is already here in many parts of the country. Here in Northern California, the trees are beginning to pollinate. In other parts of the country, spring pollen season may only be weeks away. If you suffer from springtime hay fever, do you have a plan on how to tackle your symptoms this season? Hopefully your plan includes something more than buying extra boxes of nasal tissue. A better plan would be to assess the types of symptoms that you typically experience, choose therapies based on those symptoms, decide on over-the-counter versus prescription medications, and to see an allergist to explore other treatment options such as immunotherapy.
Spring is the most common time of the year for people to experience seasonal allergy symptoms. As the weather gets warmer and plants start to bloom, trees and grasses release pollen into the air, triggering allergic symptoms in those with seasonal allergies. Colorful flowers also bloom in the spring, and are often blamed as the cause of spring allergies. In addition to plants, exposure to pet rabbits received as Easter presents may also be a reason why allergy symptoms can flare during the spring.
Allergy season can make people miserable with symptoms of hay fever, causing them to want to take medications. A variety of allergy medications are available for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, from over-the-counter (OTC) options to prescription-only drugs. Given the number of choices available, almost everyone can find a medicine that will help them get through allergy season.
An allergist/immunologist can provide expert medical advice and treatment in the evaluation and management of people with allergic diseases, asthma and immune problems (see above for types of patients seen). This includes the ability to perform and interpret allergy testing, expertise in treating complex allergic diseases and asthma, as well as the ability to prescribe allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots). Recent studies prove that asthma patients who are under the care of an allergist are less likely to visit an emergency room or be hospitalized as a result of their asthma.