Most patients with seasonal allergies experience sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion.1 Other symptoms can include itchy, red, or watery eyes, a scratchy throat, a sensation of ear fullness or itching, a post-nasal drip sensation, or a minor cough. Asthma and hives are related conditions that often affect the same patient. Patients may experience allergic rhinitis (the medical name for hay fever) for short periods of time during high pollen count periods or may develop symptoms that are persistent for weeks or even year-round.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are not alone – 10 to 30 % of Americans are in the same boat. Seasonal allergies account for millions of lost school and work days and cost the US healthcare system billions of dollars every year.
Here are 5 things you can do to minimize your fall allergy symptoms:
- Keep the pollen out. Check your local forecast, stay inside, and close your doors and windows during peak pollen times, usually late morning or midday.
- Clean out the spores. Before the weather gets colder, clean out your heating vents and install a HEPA filter. That way you won’t be filling your home with mold, dust, and other spores that have built up over the summer the first time you turn on the heater.
- Wear a mask when raking leaves. Mold spores love piles of wet leaves, so a little prevention can go a long way.
- Take the right allergy medications. It’s important to consult with a provider to make sure you get the right allergy medication for your needs and medical history. This is especially important for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, older adults, or people with high blood pressure or who take other medications regularly, as some allergy medications may not be right for you.
- Consider more advanced treatments.For patients who fail to improve with standard treatment, more advanced diagnostic methods such as skin tests and treatments such as allergy shots can be helpful.
If you are suffering with seasonal allergies, Intermountain Connect Care’s providers are available 24/7 to conduct a medical evaluation and offer advice and prescriptions as necessary, so you can get back to the outdoor activities you love, no matter the season. Be advised, however, we can’t write a note to get you out of fall yard work! Visit intermountainconnectcare.com or download the Connect Care app on iTunes or Google Play and start your visit in minutes.
William Daines, MD, is the medical director of Intermountain Connect Care® and is a practicing primary care internist at Intermountain Memorial Clinic in Salt Lake City, UT.
1Please note the difference between allergy symptoms and a sudden allergic reaction. Sudden allergic reactions are often the result of a trigger, such as a medication, food, or bee sting. Sudden allergic reactions typically manifest with sudden swelling of the face or neck, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and quickly expanding hives. If you are experiencing symptoms of a sudden allergic reaction, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.