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Four facts to increase your knowledge and help find relief

The springtime months of April and May bring more than showers and flowers. In fact, one of the most enjoyable seasons might be the most difficult season for allergy sufferers to endure. Reducing your sniffles and sneezes this spring begins with understanding some truths about seasonal allergies.

“One in five Americans suffers from allergies – many of whom are misinformed about the causes of allergies and the potential misery that can result,” says Lyndall Harrison, M.D., chief of Allergy and Immunology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Knowing fact from fiction can make a world of difference in understanding allergies and finding relief from symptoms.”

Don’t sneeze and wheeze your way through spring without recognizing some of the facts about allergies:

Allergies certainly cause discomfort, but can also be serious.

Allergies can cause serious symptoms and should not be ignored. Untreated allergies can lead to chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and sinusitis, and skin disorders such as eczema. Allergic reactions to foods or venoms can lead to anaphylactic shock, where the immune system releases chemicals causing your blood pressure to drop and your airways to close.

Most people do not “outgrow” allergies. 

Outgrowing childhood allergies is never guaranteed. In fact, childhood allergies often persist into adulthood, and adults can develop new onset of allergies. In addition, allergies can change throughout a person’s life.

Allergy shots really do work! 

Allergy immunotherapy or allergy shots are proven to be effective in providing allergic relief. The idea is to gradually increase tolerance to the allergens to eventually provide long-term relief. The success rate varies from person to person, depending on the body’s reaction to the immunotherapy. Immunotherapy candidates should be carefully screened by an allergist.

Moving to a different climate will probably not solve your allergy problems.

Houston’s warm weather certainly contributes to our high levels of pollen. However, relocating to a different climate may only temporarily relieve certain allergies. Allergy sufferers are prone to developing new allergies, and the same symptoms tend to reappear with exposure to new plants and other sources of allergens. In addition, some allergens are everywhere, like house dust, mold spores and animal dander.
“Many people are confused about the science of allergy and the appropriate treatments for their symptoms. A visit with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s Allergy specialists will help answer your questions and set you on the right path to feeling better,” concludes Dr. Harrison.

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Lyndall Harrison, MD

​Patient education is key to the successful treatment of allergic conditions, and effective patient-doctor communication is essential. In addition, treatment should always be based on sound, scientifically proven evidence.