Spring-Time Sneezes

Photo courtesy Flickr/Spazbot29

Photo courtesy Flickr/Spazbot29

During the spring season, we enjoy the beautiful flowers, green grass, beautiful trees and all the other wonderful displays of nature. The weather is warmer, and we find ourselves engaging in outdoor activities with family and friends. It seems almost perfect, except for one slight inconvenience for a select group, including myself: allergy sufferers. Those of us in that group have the desire to enjoy the wonderful weather and all the joy that nature brings, but we suffer more during this time of year than any other because of our allergies.

The good news is that effective treatments are available. For some, this treatment can be can be over-the-counter medications. I advise all my patients to first try antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Allegra or Claritin. If this remedy does not work, I advise trying a nasal steroid such as Flonase, which is now over-the-counter and doesn't require a prescription. Patients can use this nasal steroid in combination with one of the antihistamines for maximum results.

For patients who don't get results from those treatments, I would prescribe Singulair, which is an additional medication that the patient can take with the previous two. The combination of all three medications will work for many.

Patients in the elite group, including myself, are allergy sufferers who do not get relief from any of the previously mentioned treatments. Those people should go to an allergist, which is a doctor that specializes in treatments for this condition. These patients can get a procedure called allergy skin testing, which allows the allergist to specifically determine what the sufferer is allergic to, and work with a laboratory to develop a serum of the antigens or specific substances that cause the symptoms.

The patient receives this treatment in the form of injections at a determined interval, which was once a week for me.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, some symptoms may warrant a visit to your health-care provider. Some of these symptoms can indicate that there is a high likelihood of an infection, which a doctor needs to evaluate to see if more aggressive treatments such as antibiotics and decongestants are needed. Fever is a definite warning sign that indicates whether a patient needs antibiotics. Others such as a productive cough, facial pain, headaches, body aches, generalized fatigue and night sweats are warning signs that should not be ignored. With these symptoms, it is always a good idea to visit your medical provider to start treatment early to avoid complications. If you have any problems with breathing or chest pain, it is best to go to the nearest emergency room.

With the right treatments, spring is can be pleasurable for even the most severe of allergy sufferers. We can feel free to ride around in our convertible cars, picnic with our families, jog in the park and enjoy all the other benefits of the warm beautiful outdoors. But allergy sufferers must remember to take their medications, if required, while enjoying all the benefits of nature's yearly rejuvenation.

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