Tips from Dr. Ryan Ahlger: The Best Way to Battle Seasonal Allergies
Whether your symptoms flare up in the spring, summer, winter, or fall, seasonal allergies can be a nuisance, keeping you inside when you want to be out. Thanks to advanced treatments, however, allergy sufferers can now go through life with a drastic reduction in symptoms. Here are a few ways seasonal allergies can be treated to return you to a sniffle-free lifestyle.
Dr. Ahlger says that a body’s response to an allergen is actually a function of the immune system. Your body sees the irritant as a foreign substance and begins attacking it. It does this by releasing antibodies called immunoglobins which coat and irritate cells that contain chemicals. One of these chemicals, histamines, causes symptoms like sniffling, sneezing, and itchiness.
Depending on severity of symptoms, Dr. Ahlger may recommend one of the following remedies (in escalating order):
- Antihistamines—Antihistamines reduce symptoms by suppressing the histamine reaction in the body. These can come in nasal, pill, or eye drop form, with pills being the most common. For short-term relief of symptoms, medications like Benadryl may be recommended, but for those suffering on a daily basis, prescription or over-the-counter pills that can be taken daily (Claritin, for example) are often advised.
- Decongestants—To relieve symptoms, your provider may prescribe a decongestant to reduce congestion. Decongestants shrink nasal tissues and blood vessels, helping break up congestion and drying up the nasal passages. These are often recommended as a short-term solution.
- Corticosteroids—While steroids can have side effects, they’re very effective in reducing inflammation. To be effective, however, they must be taken consistently, even when the sufferer has no symptoms.
- Allergy shots—Also called immunotherapy, this is most effective treatment for those who suffer year-round allergies. It is often recommended for patients who have symptoms more than three months out of the year. Your physician will determine your particular allergens and create a dosage that includes those allergens to acclimate your body to them.
While seasonal allergies can get in the way of leading a fully productive life, patients now have many options to easily find relief.