ASK THE DOC–When should I get my allergies checked out?

QUESTION: It’s allergy season. How much is too much? When should I get my allergies checked out?

ANSWER: It’s allergy season!  Everything is blooming and, for those of us who suffer from allergies, that means runny noses, sneezing, scratchy throats, watery eyes and coughing.  These symptoms can be quite bothersome.  Let’s delve into some ways to combat seasonal allergies.

The first tip is avoiding known triggers.  If you know pollen causes a lot of issues for you, maybe stay indoors on dry, windy days.  Over the counter anti-histamines can help treat and prevent the worsening of symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Using an air purifier or humidifier in your home can help things.  Frequent vacuuming in your home can help keep symptoms at bay, especially if you have pets. A sinus rinse is an easy and inexpensive way to help with nasal congestion. You can purchase a sinus rinse kit at your local pharmacy.

Allergies are a drag, but how much is too much? When should you get your allergies checked out? If you develop sinus pressure, a distressing cough, difficulty breathing or fever, you should be evaluated by a medical provider.  Allergies can lead to sinus infections which require antibiotics to treat.  If you have recurrent sinus infections or severe reactions to allergens, your provider may likely consider allergy testing or referring you to an allergist for further workup. Allergy testing can determine specific triggers to help you avoid them in the future.

This question from a reader was answered by: Jocelyn Ford, APRN, FNP-BC . She practices at Robert C. Byrd Clinic in Lewisburg.

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