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Let's clear the air about allergies

Let's Clear the Air About Allergies

January 26, 2019

The springtime months of April and May bring more than showers and flowers. In fact, what should be one of the most enjoyable seasons might be the most difficult 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, MD, 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.”

Allergies Can Be More Serious Than You May Think

Allergies can cause serious symptoms that shouldn’t 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, during which the immune system releases chemicals causing your blood pressure to drop and your airways to close.

Most People Don’t “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 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 immunotherapy. Immunotherapy candidates should be carefully screened by an allergist.

A Different Climate Probably Won’t Solve Your Allergy Problems

Houston’s warm, humid weather certainly contributes to our high levels of pollen and environmental allergens. 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 household dust, mold spores, and animal dander.

“Many people are confused about the science of allergies and the appropriate treatments for their symptoms,” explains Dr. Harrison. “A visit with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s allergy specialists will help answer your questions and set you on the right path to feeling better.”

Headshot of Lyndall Harrison, MD, Allergist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

About the Author

Dr. Lyndall Harrison is an allergy specialist at Kelsey-Seybold's Main Campus, Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center, and Kingwood Clinic. "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."

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