Winning the War Against Your Allergies

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A quick check of the pollen counts explains the stuffy noses, watery eyes, and throbbing headaches many of us are experiencing lately. Pollen levels have been high nearly every day. During the spring and summer months, trees, weeds, and grasses release tiny grains of pollen, which travel through the air and enter the nose and throat, potentially causing an allergic reaction. Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergies, and pollen allergies are the most common type. Other common allergies include mold, animals, and dust mites.

Why do I have allergies?

Genetic Predisposition –  If one of your parents suffers from allergies, there is a 50% chance that you will as well. If both your parents have allergies, this chance rises to 75-80%.

Environment – Even if a person has a genetic predisposition to an allergy, they need to be exposed to an environment containing the potential allergen before having a reaction. So, a person who occasionally encounters a cat without a problem may suddenly find themselves sniffling and sneezing when a new roommate moves in with their kitten. Where you live can also affect your allergy symptoms, particularly if you’re allergic to pollen or mold.

What can I do to minimize my allergies?

  • If you’re allergic to pollen or mold spores, regularly check the allergy reports in your area and limit outdoor exposure when necessary. Keep your house and car windows closed. Use a HEPA- approved vacuum cleaner to keep from spreading allergens throughout your house.
  • If you’re allergic to dogs or cats, frequently wash and brush your pet. Surprisingly, it’s not the pet dander that causes an allergic reaction, but the saliva and urine that can accumulate on the fur. Frequent baths can help combat the problem. Keep the pet away from items that directly come into contact with your skin, such as clothing and bedding.
  • If you’re allergic to dust mites, know that they like to hide where they can find their favorite source of food – dead skin cells. Choose washable bedding and wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water. Vacuum carpets regularly and if your allergies persist, consider replacing carpets with hard floors.

If these tips don’t work, what medical treatments are available?

Medications – A variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for relieving and preventing allergy symptoms.  For most people with nasal allergies, combining medication with reducing allergen exposure is enough to control their allergies. Steroid shots can also quickly treat an allergic reaction in an urgent situation.

Allergy Shots – Allergy shots, also referred to as immunotherapy, involve a series of shots that will gradually make you less sensitive to allergens. Allergy shots are particularly useful when you can’t avoid contact with an allergen. For example, perhaps you’re allergic to your fiancée’s cherished schnauzer.  Allergy shots are highly effective but involve numerous trips to the doctor (at first weekly and eventually monthly) for three to five years.

If allergies are making you miserable, Integrity Urgent Care can help! Allergy medications and steroid injections are available to quickly treat your allergy symptoms. Contact us today for more information!

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