Seasonal allergies create havoc with a variety of symptoms thatlimit energy, food choices, outdoor activities, and more. If you want long-term solutions to your allergic rhinitis, education and treatment are keys to your health and comfort.
Let’s learn more about this chronic respiratory condition and where you can go for its treatment in Northeast Illinois.
Is It Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis?
Actually, the terms are interchangeable. Both refer to the seasonal allergies triggered by the onset of warm weather and the budding of grasses, trees, and other botanicals we enjoy around our homes, farms, and parks.
About 25 million Americans, including kids, teens, adults, and seniors, experience a wide range of upper respiratory symptoms that stem from exposure to airborne grass, tree, and ragweed pollens. Each of these substances reaches its peak throughout spring and summer.
Plus, if you think allergy seasons have become longer and longer with each passing year, you are correct. More airborne pollen invades and stays in the air now compared to 20 years ago because our springs and summers are getting warmer across the country. In other words, pollen, allergy, or hay fever seasons are more intense and last for more weeks than in the past.
How to Find Relief and Long-term Solutions for Allergic Rhinitis
Allergens are substances in the immediate environment that provoke a person’s overactive immune system to produce histamines. In excessive amounts, these natural chemicals cause what we identify as allergy symptoms, such as
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Brain fog
- Itchy ears
- Sinus, or frontal, headaches
Also, people with hay fever often have asthma, characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and coughing.
To discover what you are allergic to, you need to see an allergist, a board-certified physician who understands the physiological mechanisms for seasonal (and year-round) allergies. He can test you to discover your particular allergic triggers.
When you consult with your allergist, he will review your health history and medications and ask about your symptoms. Be as detailed as you can be in describing when they happen, what they look like, and what may help them.
Examples include: “I start sneezing when I admire my neighbor’s rose garden,” or “My eyes itch and water when I mow my lawn.”
Also, be aware that along with your seasonal allergies, you may be allergic to certain foods, medications, dust mites, animal dander, and other common triggers.
Your allergist will test you using skin prick (intradermal) samples of several possible allergens. These tests provoke visible red bumps on the skin if you are allergic to particular substances.
Your doctor may also use an immunoglobulin (IgE) blood test to detect allergic reactions. Testing may take a few appointments to complete and for the doctor to formulate a care plan specific to your allergies.
Immediate and Long-term Relief for Allergies
After testing, your physician may recommend certain prescription or over-the-counter medications to counter immediate symptoms. These may be in the form of oral antihistamines, nasal decongestant sprays, and eye drops.
However, many people qualify for and benefit from oral or injection immunotherapies. Commonly called allergy shots, these medications gradually desensitize you to your allergic triggers. Their formulations are based on the specific results of your allergy testing.
Finally, take control of your environment. Wear a mask when cutting the lawn. Close your windows on high pollen count days, and vacuum frequently to pick up dust mites and animal dander. All-house HVAC filters and room air purifiers are long-term solutions that really work.
And as always, avoid all tobacco smoke.
Best Allergy Doctor in Northeast Illinois
If you are in search of a good allergy doctor, visit us here at Oak Brook Allergists. We have board-certified allergists and asthma specialists on our team who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing all types of allergies, including allergic rhinitis, pollen allergy, and food allergies. We prescribe the best treatment plans to our patients and provide necessary information and recommendations on lifestyle modifications to prevent exposure to allergens.
To schedule your consultation with one of our allergy doctors, call us today at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our online appointment request form.