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When To Start Taking Allergy Medicine In Spring

What Is The Difference Between The Nasal Medications And Oral Medications For Allergies

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Nasal medications act locally in the nose to help with nasal allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and swelling. Because nasal medications act at the source of nasal symptoms, the type of side effects someone may experience are usually local, such as nasal irritation, headache, or nosebleed. These side effects depend on the person using the nasal spray â not everyone will experience all the potential side effects of a particular medication.

Oral medications are taken by mouth and nasal medications are inhaled or sprayed in the nose. Because oral medications are ingested into the body, their effects can occur throughout the body, so some people may experience side effects such as constipation, drowsiness, or dry mouth, such as in the case of antihistamines. Oral medications can help with all types of allergy symptoms .

If you are considering allergy medications, talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for you.

Pollen Counts: Not Always The Full Story

Its a good idea to keep an eye on the predicted pollen counts, particularly if you plan to be outdoors for a long period of time.

But even if you see a high pollen count predicted in the newspaper, on a smartphone app or on TV, it doesnt necessarily mean that you will be affected. There are many types of pollen from different kinds of trees, from grass and from a variety of weeds. As a result, a high overall pollen count doesnt always indicate a strong concentration of the specific pollen to which youre allergic.

The opposite can be true, too: The pollen count might be low, but you might find yourself around one of the pollens that triggers your allergies.

Through testing, an allergist can pinpoint which pollens bring on your symptoms. An allergist can also help you find relief by determining which medications will work best for your set of triggers.

This page was reviewed for accuracy 4/23/2018.

When Is It Time To Try A Different Allergy Medication

Its not unusual for people to say their medication has worn off midway through allergy season. Many people believe its because theyve developed a tolerance to their regimen, but this is most likely not the case, as its not common for people to develop a resistance to these medications.

So then why is your allergy medication suddenly not working as well? Well, there are several possible reasons, including a change to the type of pollen in the environment, your body developing a new allergy, and changes to your stress levels. Its also possible youre not using your medication correctly, especially when it comes to nasal sprays, which take some practice to use properly.

But if you know youre using your medication appropriately, youve lowered your stress levels, and youre taking steps to avoid being exposed to pollen and other allergens, then it might be time to change medications. Sometimes, all you need to do is try another medication within the same class, such as switching from Claritin to Allegra or changing from Flonase to Nasacort. If that doesnt seem to help, its time to see your primary care provider or an allergy specialist.

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Home Remedies And Alternate Treatment

Nasal irrigation. That’s just a fancy way to say rinse out your nose with salty water. It can be a huge help when you’re all stuffed up. Put a saline mix — either store-bought or homemade — into a neti pot, bulb syringe, or squeeze bottle, and then flush out your nasal passages. To make your own rinse, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda. Then add it to 1 cup of lukewarm distilled water or boiled water after it’s cooled down.

Acupuncture. Some studies, but not all, suggest it eases symptoms. If you try it, experts recommend you begin 2 months before allergy season kicks off.

Herbs. Some people swear by herbal remedies like goldenseal, butterbur, and stinging nettle. But they’re not proven to work and may trigger side effects.

Begin Tracking The Pollen Levels

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Tree and grass pollen are the main allergy culprits in the spring. Visit our pollen count webpage to find local pollen counts. Tracking the days when your allergies are worse can help you plan accordingly. Stay inside during the midmorning and early evening to avoid peak pollen hours on days in which the pollen count is high.

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Talk To Your Allergist About Treatment Options

Our allergy clinics in Atlanta, Conyers, and Lawrenceville, Georgia are staffed with board certified allergists who help perform allergy skin testing to diagnose environmental triggers. They can help you create a treatment plan, with medications or allergy shots , to overcome your allergies so that you can enjoy spring and the great outdoors throughout your life.

Are There Side Effects Associated With Prescription Nasal Sprays

Prescription nasal sprays include antihistamines, anticholinergics, and inhaled corticosteroids. When it comes to prescription nasal sprays for allergies, most side effects occur locally in the area of the body where you’re applying the medication. Nasal sprays can cause side effects such as nasal irritation, stinging, burning, sneezing, and nosebleeds. Other side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth or throat, throat irritation, changes in taste, and headache. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and the extent and severity may depend on each individual and the specific nasal spray. You and your doctor can determine which medication is most appropriate for you.

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Blocking Allergy Symptoms: How Pretreatment Works

Tackle allergies before they start, and you could be breathing a lot easier.

For lots of people, allergy treatment is reactive. You get stuffed up, your eyes water, and then you go to the medicine cabinet for relief. But many doctors say that weâve got it the wrong way around. Instead, we should be taking the medicine before we have symptoms. Call it allergy pretreatment.

âWe always tell people to start taking medicine before the allergy season begins,â says Jonathan A. Bernstein MD, an allergist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati. âPeople often come to me in the middle of the allergy season, and theyâre already a mess. Once the symptoms start, they can be like a runaway train.â

By waiting, you could be risking more than mild discomfort. Once allergy symptoms start, you might need more heavy-duty medicine to get them under control. In some people, allergy symptoms quickly turn into allergic sinusitis and more serious problems. That requires even more intensive treatment.

So the key to getting through the allergy season is to have a good defense. By arming yourself with medicine before the trees unleash their pollen — or before you go visit your sister and their five cats — you can save yourself a lot of suffering. How does allergy pretreatment work? Here are the answers.

Allergy Forecast: Heres When Season Will Peak In Ohio

Excerpts from Experts: Spring Allergies

The publications outlook shows that in Ohio, during which time allergens will be a major hindrance for Ohioans.Tree pollen season occurs between February and May in Ohio, But some allergenspollens, but what does that mean? Many people think that allergy season only occurs in the spring months when pollen is in the air.For instance, elm, nasal congestion, runny nose, ragweed dust ),depending on our summer weather.Peak pollen season is likely to hit the Ohio River Valley and Mid-Atlantic region around late April, sycamore, www.aafa.org, Outdoor Allergens | AAAAI (Mar 18, SearchCommon allergy symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, that contribute to allergy symptoms include oak, which means that Spring pollen season is also arriving, among others, sycamore, coughing, Your ewes and does should start gaining weight when their offspring are taken away to

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Spring Clean Your Garden Before Peak Pollen Season

Try to complete your essential gardening before your seasonal allergies properly kick in. Clear away dead leaves or plants to limit mold growth if this triggers your allergies, or remove plants such as ragweed that are common allergens. You could also schedule your gardening time for later in the day, rather than in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.2

I Have Allergies All Year Round Is It Safe To Take Allergy Medications Every Day

When used appropriately and as your doctor or pharmacist recommends, you can use most allergy medications all year round. Some medications used to treat allergy symptoms, such as nasal decongestants , should not be used for more than 3 to 7 days because the nasal congestion can return or get worse once you stop the medication. However, most allergy medications can be used throughout the year as long as you are experiencing allergy symptoms.

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What Is A Pollen Allergy

Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Many people know pollen allergy as hay fever. Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Each spring, summer and fall, plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Most of the pollens that cause allergic reactions come from trees, weeds and grasses. These plants make small, light and dry pollen grains that travel by the wind.

Grasses are the most common cause of allergy. Ragweed is a main cause of weed allergies. Other common sources of weed pollen include sagebrush, pigweed, lambs quarters and tumbleweed. Certain species of trees, including birch, cedar and oak, also produce highly allergenic pollen.

Plants fertilized by insects, like roses and some flowering trees, like cherry and pear trees, usually do not cause allergic rhinitis.

When To Consider Allergy Shots

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If over-the-counter-medicines and nasal sprays dont seem to be working, you might want to consider allergy shots. Dr. Eidelman says they can help lessen your sensitivity to pollen and more.

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can make you less sensitive to all the things that youre allergic to. For example, if youre allergic to tree pollen, you would get an allergy shot thats made out of tree pollen protein.

So what does that mean?

In a lab, they extract the protein from tree pollen and they make an extract with it. That extract is then used to desensitize or make the patient less sensitive to tree pollen. Allergy shots are very effective and many controlled studies have reflected this. Allergy immunotherapy is the only treatment that has the potential to cure allergic rhinitis, Dr. Eidelman says.

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Off To An Early Start This Year

Most spring allergy sufferers know to start taking precautions before the trees burst into bloom each year.

In central Pennsylvania, that usually doesnt mean early March. This year, however, a string of unusually warm days tricked the trees into blooming earlier than normal.

We have been seeing tons of tree pollen for several weeks now, said Dr. Randy Young, director of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. A lot of the people we are seeing usually dont get hit by this until later in the spring.

The early warmth has also disrupted the natural parade of when different trees bloom, causing overlap that means more than one type of tree can be sending pollen into the air at once. Spring rains can help put a damper on the pollen flying around in the air, but the relatively dry, breezy days of late have kept pollen counts high.

Because winds tend to be stronger in midday, Dr. Timothy Craig, an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist at the Medical Center, suggests those who suffer from spring allergies do their outdoor activities or exercise earlier or later in the day, and shower and change clothes once they return indoors.

If you suffer from year-round allergies and you control them better, sometimes the spring allergies arent as bad, Craig said.

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Why Should You Start Preparing Now

You dont have to wait until you are suffering to do something about your allergies. Whether you make an appointment with an allergist or start taking medication, its important to get ahead of the pollen. Preparing now can help ease your symptoms throughout the season. If youve never been allergy tested now is a great time to do it. Learn what you are allergic to and how to treat it before your symptoms get worse.

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How Bad Can Spring Allergies Get

People can be very miserable. Their eyes can become itchy and swollen, their noses get congested, they sneeze a lot and if they have asthma, their lungs can become irritated.

Dr. Eidelman says if you have allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies, things can get really bad and may affect your quality of life quite significantly.

People might have trouble working or going to school. They may have trouble sleeping and they often feel tired. Even if they try to get enough sleep, its not normal sleep. So, work presenteeism can be quite common. This is when people show up to work or school but they cant function at 100% because theyre kind of out of it like they feel when they have a cold or the flu.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The annual cost from all of this is around $18 billion per year.

Possible Side Effects Of Decongestants

Throwdown Thursday: What are the best ways to manage allergies this season?

Pseudoephedrine can help with congestion and is found in combo medications like Allegra-D®, Claritin-D® and Zyrtec-D®. Dr. Eidelman says its a good medication, but it can cause side effects and the side effects are more prominent in older people.

It can raise blood pressure and it can also cause palpitations because it is a stimulant. Overall, I dont recommend it for people with heart problems. I also wouldnt recommend that people over 40 take it regularly.

He adds that pseudoephedrine can also cause prostate problems. So if youre older, youre much better off with a topical nasal steroid.

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Start Preventive Medicine Early

All allergy medicines work best when you start them before the height of the pollen season. This includes antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec or Xyzal, but is especially true for nasal sprays like Flonase, Nasonex or Nasacort which take about seven to ten days to reach their full protective effect. For those with persistent asthma, our certified allergy specialists recommend taking your prescribed inhaled steroid every day as directed as well.

How Many People Suffer From Allergies

According to Dr. Eidelman, one out of five people has some sort of allergy and the intensity can range from very mild to severe.

He says people with mild allergies tend to just grin and bear it. They may not have any particular need for medication. If their allergies are a little bit more intense, they may take over-the-counter medications as needed.

But as you get further along that spectrum, the severity of the illness can become disabling. People feel very sick, they cant get out of bed, they cant sleep it can be intense. So, it all depends on where they are on that spectrum of intensity, he says.

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Should I Take Or Give My Child Over

The over-the-counter allergy medications are both safe and effective. Steroid nose sprays, such as Flonase, Rhinocort and Nasocort, may help your nose and eye symptoms even if you dont have allergies. 24-hour antihistamines, such as Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal, will also help but typically only if you have allergies. It is safe and considered effective to use a steroid nose spray and 24-hour antihistamine together.

When Is It Safe To Stop Taking Seasonal Allergy Medications

Yes, Now is the Time to Start Preparing for Spring ...

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Everyones experience with seasonal allergies is different and can change from year to year. Stopping too early can cause your symptoms to suddenly appear and be difficult to get back under control. Its best to discuss this with your provider so you can come up with a plan on when to stop your allergy medication.

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What Are Some Common Seasonal Allergens That May Be Causing My Allergies To Act Up

Common seasonal allergens include:

  • tree pollen â occurs in the spring
  • grass pollen â occurs in late spring and summer
  • weed pollen â occurs in late summer and fall

The pollen season depends greatly on where you live. For example, people in Barrie, Ontario, usually start having allergies to tree pollen starting mid-March, while people in Vancouver, British Columbia, start to have allergies to tree pollen as early as February.

Its Tempting But Keep Your Windows Closed

When the weather is finally warm outside, it is tempting to turn off the heat, open windows, and let the fresh air in. This fresh breeze might feel nice, but it will also bring the pollen inside your home. Keeping your windows and doors closed will create a safe retreat during the peak pollen season.

Another place to control pollen is in your car. Keep your car windows closed and the AC on re-circulation to help keep pollen out of the car.

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