Allergies occur when your immune system tries to defend your body against substances that are harmless to others, causing itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and a stuffy or runny nose. About 50 million Americans suffer from year-round allergies to mold, dust, and pets. However, seasonal allergies are the most common cause. Typically, in early Spring, symptoms are most likely caused by pollen from trees while in late spring they are probably due to grass pollens.
“There is no cure for allergies, but proper treatment can help keep your allergy symptoms from getting worse,” says Stanley Fine, MD, allergist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center. “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, your doctor can help you control symptoms so you will feel better,” Dr. Fine says. “The simplest remedy may be just to avoid what is triggering your allergy symptoms, but if this is too difficult, try an over-the counter antihistamine. If you know you suffer from allergies in the springtime, start taking the medication just before the season begins.”
Allergies vs Cold
Since allergy symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, it can sometimes be hard to tell the two apart. “If the condition lasts for more than two weeks, seems to be triggered by a certain substance (an allergen), or returns every season, then it’s probably an allergy instead of a cold. Symptoms that include significant itchiness are also most likely allergy related,” says Dr. Fine.
If an over-the-counter remedy doesn’t help, an allergist at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can offer a variety of treatment options to considerably minimize your allergy symptoms.
“You don’t have to be a victim of the season,” says Dr. Fine. “Often, when over-the counter solutions don’t work, a nasal spray or prescription medication can lessen allergy symptoms.”
Dr. Fine adds: “If more complex treatment is needed, your physician may recommend allergy shots – which are effective about 80 percent of the time. The bottom line is that even if you do suffer from seasonal allergies, you don’t have to dread the spring.”
To schedule an appointment with an allergist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.
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