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Seasonal Allergies Making You Miserable
My seasonal allergies feel like fireworks exploding in my nose. How can I get relief?
"Springtime can be brutal for Houston allergy sufferers," says Eric Sandberg, M.D., a board-certified Allergy and Immunology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "To address your condition, we would first need to identify the offending allergen."
Houston's high humidity contributes to indoor allergens such as high dust mite concentrations, while warm weather produces abundant outdoor pollens from grass and trees.
"It's possible your reaction may be related to pecan tree pollen, so prevalent this time of year," Dr. Sandberg says.
An allergy is an altered immune response, or heightened sensitivity, to a usually harmless substance.
"Allergic reactions can interfere with your sleep, sense of well-being and other quality-of-life issues," Dr. Sandberg says. "Responses may include irritated itchy eyes, stuffy nose and other nasal miseries. And some patients may progress to asthma.
"Avoidance is the first-line of defense. For instance, a patient allergic to dogs or cats should avoid contact." He says. "For most allergens, however, avoidance isn't a practical option, so we try medications for symptomatic relief, such as nasal sprays, eye drops or antihistamines."
If necessary, allergy testing - usually on the patient's skin - is conducted. For some patients, this progresses to treatment with allergy shots.
"If you suffer repeated allergic reactions, see a qualified allergist to discuss treatment options," concludes Dr. Sandberg.