Tracy Cook, NP-C
If you have lived in Texas very long, you know allergy season is upon us. The weather goes from hot to cold to windy and the trees and plants are coming back to life, along with those pesky allergens that come with them. The most common spring allergens are pollen from oak trees, as well as cottonwood, elm, ash and pecan. As the summer season comes, we typically react to grasses, Bermuda, Sweet Vernal and Timothy grass.
What is allergic rhinitis (allergies)? It is a symptomatic disorder of the nose induced after exposure to allergens via IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions, which are characterized by four cardinal symptoms of watery nose, nasal obstruction, nasal itching and sneezing. Allergic rhinitis affects approximately 30% of adults and 40% of children. The symptoms can be from mild to moderate-severe and can be intermittent or persistent.
What can you do to reduce allergies and allergy symptoms? Try sweeping your floor vs vacuuming. Vacuuming can spread more allergens. Over the counter allergy medication can help, like Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra. We also have nasal sprays over the counter such as Flonase and Nasacort. These have corticosteroids in them which can decrease inflammation while protecting from allergens. You can also clean your nasal and sinus passages with a variety of over the counter products such as a nettie pot, saline rinse and nasal lavage systems. This can help clear away allergens, so your body does not react as much if allergens are continually in contact with nasal passages.
If you are doing all these things and still have symptoms, then you need to talk to your health care provider for a systematic approach and regimen that can include Montelukast (Singulair), which effectively reduces nasal and eye symptoms and improves nasal obstruction. In combination with the over the counter medication this can reduce or prevent the exacerbation of seasonal or intermittent allergic rhinitis. Anti-Allergy injections, which can be a combination of corticosteroids and antihistamines that can significantly decrease symptoms quickly. Lastly, go to an allergy specialist for a workup to find out exactly what you are allergic to and medication that is specific for your allergies.
The point is you don’t have to suffer from allergies. Find the right regimen for you and act before the season begins. Follow your regimen, get outside and enjoy the weather rather than worrying about allergies!
Tracy Cook is an Adult Nurse Practitioner who owns and operates a private medical practice: Adult Health Services and Argyle Medspa and Wellness Center, is a resident of Robson Ranch and a Living Well committee member. For any questions or more information please visit her website www.Argylemedspa.com.