Spring into action now to help prepare for fall allergies

Spring into action now to help prepare for fall allergies

(BPT) – To everything there is a season, and this season you just might be feeling lousy: sneezing, stuffy nose, and watery eyes. With spring allergies in full swing and summer right around the corner, it may be difficult to think about the upcoming fall allergy season now, but it’s not too early to start preparing.

Many Americans suffer from grass pollen allergies during the spring and summer. But when the temperature cools and the leaves change, fall pollen allergens will emerge. In fact, some people find, much to their dismay, that their allergy symptoms are just as severe in the fall.

A number of plants can trigger fall allergies including ragweed, burning bush, cocklebur, lamb’s quarters, pigweed, sagebrush, mugwort, tumbleweed and Russian thistle. Ragweed, for example, blooms and releases pollen from August to November, with pollen levels peaking in mid-September in many areas of the United States. An allergist can help you identify what is triggering your allergy symptoms.

Do you know what causes seasonal allergy symptoms? If you have allergies, your immune system can mistake an allergen as a threat and begins forming antibodies to fight it off. This triggers a response where your body produces chemical substances which, in turn, cause allergy symptoms such as a stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes. If you suffered last fall, you just might be asking yourself the key question: What can I do now to help prepare for the upcoming fall allergy season?

“Many allergy sufferers will wait until they’re in the heart of the fall allergy season, and already experiencing symptoms, before visiting their doctor. But there are steps they can take to plan in advance,” says Dr. David Bernstein, professor of medicine and environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “For example, many allergy patients know they suffer most during certain times, like during the late summer months and fall. That’s why it’s important to speak with your allergist now about ways to prepare ahead of the season, which may include preventative measures at home and a discussion of treatment options.”

Allergy sufferers can work with their allergist to develop a plan that may include the following steps:

*Monitor the pollen count by checking weather reports.

*Shower, change and wash clothes after spending time outdoors.

*Keep your home and car windows closed. Use air conditioning.

*Stay indoors during the afternoon when pollen counts are highest.

An allergist may also discuss possible treatment options which may include symptom relieving medicines and/or immunotherapy.

Make an appointment with an allergy specialist today to start planning ahead for fall allergy season before symptoms appear. To help find an allergy specialist, please visit the websites of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), http://aaaai.execinc.com/edibo/FindAnAllergist; the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), http://acaai.org/locate-an-allergist; or the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), http://www.aaoaf.org/FindaPhysician.aspx.