“‘Tis the season to be sneezing” is the song most Texans will be singing soon—if they aren’t already. Allergy season is upon us, and while it is unavoidable for most people, it doesn’t have to be miserable. That’s right – you don’t have to endure the awful symptoms associated with allergies. As you learn more about seasonal allergies, discover the treatment options that are available to help you feel better faster.
“Allergies” occur when your immune system negatively responds to allergens in your environment. If your body is allergic to anything with which it comes in contact, a chemical that causes inflammation and swelling—histamine—is produced. The effects of histamine cause the symptoms associated with allergies. These symptoms include sneezing, congestion, watery and itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and an irritated nose and throat. You may even find dark circles under your eyes as a result of increased blood flow to the sinuses. At first, you may feel that you have a cold, but allergy symptoms are not contagious. They are simply your body’s reaction to airborne allergens that overtake the mucus in your nose and throat.
Texas is one of the worst states for allergies because of the various trees and outdoor allergens. Another term for allergies is hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is extremely common, currently listed as the sixth leading cause of illness in America. A common misconception is that allergies only occur during the spring. Many doctors believe that allergens are so prevalent in our state because we rarely experience a harsh winter with freezing temperatures. The Texas climate allows trees to pollinate year-round. During the spring, allergies stem from pollen-producing plants like ash, elm, oak, pine, pecan, hickory, poplar, and walnut. Grass, cedar, and ragweed are common outdoor allergens in South Texas. During this season, pollen causes allergies for most Texans. Additionally, indoor allergens such as dust, pet dander, and mold, can also cause allergy symptoms.
The symptoms of allergies can be annoying at the very least, and downright miserable at most. While you cannot get rid of allergies altogether, there are several over-the-counter medications that are available to reduce the severity of your symptoms. Consider purchasing an antihistamine at your local drug store. This blocks the release of histamine that causes inflammation and many common symptoms. You can find an antihistamine in the form of a pill or nasal spray. A saline nasal irrigation will clean out your sinuses and does not have addictive qualities like a nasal decongestant. Many people who suffer from allergies assume it comes with the season, so they endure their symptoms without seeking treatment. If your over-the-counter medications do not provide relief, your symptoms get worse, or your allergic reaction turns into asthma, it’s time to call a doctor. If you are looking for a walk-in clinic you can trust in Bryan/College Station, come see us at Integrity Urgent Care. We offer a steroid shot that will reduce your inflammation and treat your symptoms. If your allergies are extremely bad every year, a steroid shot may prevent your nasal symptoms from occurring even before they start!
Sources: https://www.texassinuscenter.com/common-sinus-problems/allergies/, https://www.texanallergy.com/blog/texas-is-one-of-the-worst-places-for-allergies-and-heres-why, http://www.sneeze.com/how-to-stop-hay-fever/, https://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-medications#3