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Stuffy nose. Itchy, watery eyes. Post-nasal drip. You know what that means — allergy season.
“Some people have allergies the entire year, and other people’s are more seasonal,” says David Myers, M.D., a pulmonologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Plano. “If you pay attention in a given year, you can anticipate when things might be bad and institute measures more proactively.”
People who have year-round allergies must stay vigilant to keep allergies at bay, he says. Here are some things you can do.
1. Be aware. “The most important thing is to be aware of your allergy and to try to minimize exposure if you can,” he says.
2. Use medications. Of course, Dr. Myers says, if you’re allergic to something as ubiquitous as pollen, minimizing exposure isn’t very likely. In these cases, an over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine can combat the more acute, or immediate, allergic symptoms. And a controller medicine, typically an inhaled steroid, should be taken consistently.
“The key is that the inhaled steroid has to be used on a daily basis, because its effect builds up over time,” Dr. Myers says. “It’s not something that you would spray in your nose and find immediate relief.”
3. Look around your home. “Dust control is a big issue,” he says. “Make sure air filters in the air conditioning system are fresh — and preferably the ones that have been certified to clear more airborne particles.”
Plus, he says, keep in mind that hard-surface floors are better for dust control than carpets, and it’s important to keep reservoirs for particulates clean. These are areas like drapes, slats in the blinds and ceiling fan blades where dust settles — and stays.
If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms, try an over-the-counter antihistamine. If that doesn’t work, talk to your physician. Need a doctor? Search our online directory.
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