NYACK, N.Y. -- If you suffer from pollen, tree or other seasonal allergies, don't waste another minute suffering this spring.
“If you start sneezing in early spring, you’re most likely allergic to tree pollen,” said Dr. Ma. Lourdes de Asis, section chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nyack Hospital. “You should be taking medication from mid-March through June or July.”
Common over-the-counter allergy medications include antihistamines, decongestants, nose drops and eye drops, but it's important to know when to pass on certain remedies. For instance, de Asis recommends people with glaucoma, heart conditions, high blood pressure, prostate problems or thyroid problems avoid using decongestants due to higher risk of harmful side effects.
The Future of Immunotherapy
If these over-the-counter medications aren’t adequately controlling allergy symptoms, speaking with an allergist can help. “People who have allergies more than six months of the year, or whose asthma or chronic sinusitis is aggravated by allergies, should be evaluated and considered for immunotherapy,” said de Asis.
Once allergy testing determines which substance a person is allergic to, the allergist will give a series of injections -- known as immunotherapy. The shots allow the body to build up a tolerance that prevents allergens such as pollen from causing symptoms.
Another exciting new development in relief is an oral type of immunotherapy, in which small, measured doses of an allergen are placed under the tongue to boost tolerance and reduce symptoms. As a result, allergy sufferers are able to avoid symptoms, shot-free.
“Whether you should get a shot or take the daily tablets is a personal preference," said de Asis. "Your physician will weigh the pros and cons of each with you.”
Tips for Reducing Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, here are some tips to reduce your sneezing, stuffy nose and watering eyes:
- Monitor daily pollen and mold counts online through the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology website.
- Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season.
- Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
“The Northeast has a very high concentration of tree pollen in the spring,” said de Asis. “If you’re prone to severe seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor. With the very good treatment available, there’s no reason to suffer.”
For more information on how to beat allergies this spring, visit Nyack Hospital's website.