Allergy season has arrived in full force this spring. If you suffer seasonal allergies, you know that this is the time for itchy eyes, stuffy noses, scratchy throats and asthma flare ups. Many allergy sufferers experience what is called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. The good news is, seasonal allergies are treatable. With the right medications and lifestyle changes, you can survive allergy season. Check out these treatment options for allergy season.

Prevention
The first step against seasonal allergies is to prevent symptoms by limiting exposure to allergens. Keep your windows closed during the worst of the pollen outbreaks. If you need to air out your home, do it early in the morning for a short period of time. Use HEPA air purifiers recommended by the EPA in your home and allergen filters on your air conditioning unit. Avoid going outside or doing lawn work when pollen counts are high, especially if it’s windy. When you come inside, take off your shoes, change your clothes and wash your hands and face.

Over the Counter Drugs
Many people who suffer from seasonal allergies take an over the counter oral antihistamine. However, according to healthfinder.gov, these have little effect on relieving a stuffy nose or inflammation that often occurs with allergies. Visit your primary care doctor or allergist to talk about the correct medications for your specific symptoms. When taking over the counter medications for allergies, take them as scheduled and try not to skip a dose during the worst of the season.

Prescription Drugs
Your doctor may recommend a prescription nasal spray for your allergy symptoms, especially if you have a chronic stuffy nose and sinus issues related to hay fever. Take it as recommended, following the directions carefully. Your doctor may also prescribe oral medication to help prevent allergic rhinitis and asthma. Prescription antihistamine nose sprays and eye drops are also available. In many cases, you and your doctor have to find the right combination of medications that work best for you. When allergy season isn’t in full force, it may be possible to decrease doses or pause medication.

Immunotherapy
For those with seasonal, environmental allergies that don’t respond well to medication, immunotherapy is often the best solution in the long run. Better known as allergy shots, this type of allergy treatment takes place weekly over a set period of time, often for up to a year. Once a maintenance dose has been achieved, patients receive the allergy shots less often. While initially expensive, this type of treatment can save you time and money in the long run by significantly lessening symptoms of seasonal allergies.

North Hills Hospital makes patient care a priority with immediate treatment, attention and follow-up. For a physician referral, please visit us online or call 1-855-5NHILLS.

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