Take Charge of Allergies

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:53:10 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 24 2013 04:46:51 PM CDT

Just because it's fall doesn't mean we're safe from allergens.  Right now molds, ragweed, and cenapods are common and can wreak havoc on your health.  Experts are still unsure why certain people experience allergies while others do not, but the answer may lie in your genetics, family history, and immune system.  An allergy is a response of the body to something harmless that the body instead deems dangerous.  Not sure if you're experiencing allergies?  Here's a list of some common symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy palate (roof of your mouth)
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

If these issues are a persistent problem for you, you could be experiencing allergies.  Thankfully you do have options!  First, you might try these things:

  1. Shower immediately after returning inside from the outdoors.  While outside you're getting pollen and other allergens in your hair, on your skin, and on your clothes; removing those and showering will help you to avoid prolonged exposure.  Also make sure you shower before bed to avoid getting those allergens on your sheets and pillow.
  2. Try an over-the-counter anti-histamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra (or their generics).

If you've tried cutting down your exposure time to no avail and over-the-counter medications aren't helping, consider visiting an allergist.  Dr. Van Strickland from here in Wichita shared what you can expect from a visit with an allergist and what questions he or she may help answer for you.

  1. What are you allergic to?
  2. Can you avoid it?
  3. What are alternative therapies to try?

If you can't avoid your allergen easily and effectively, one alternative therapy Dr. Strickland mentioned is allergy immunotherapy.  That's just a scientific term for allergy shots, a series of shots in which you expose your body repeatedly to the allergen in hopes that you will become accustomed to its presence.  Ideally, your symptoms will cool down or completely go away.  While this treatment doesn't cure allergies, it can help drastically improve your quality of life.

With fall here and winter following soon after, the frost will help cut down on many of those allergens currently in the air.  Winter may not bring beaches and sunshine, but it will offer some allergy relief!