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Preparing for Springtime Allergies – A Message from the Allergy & Immunology Department at Crystal Run

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Most people eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring; however, for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, the arrival of spring also means the arrival of tree pollen which can make spending time outdoors less enjoyable.    

Seasonal allergies are caused by an allergic response to pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, or airborne mold spores. It is estimated that 50 million people in the United States are affected by seasonal allergies.  

Allergy sufferers may experience a variety of symptoms including nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy/watery eyes.  Other symptoms such as postnasal drip, itchy throat, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath may also occur. 

Although the seasonal patterns and typical symptoms may be sufficient enough to make the diagnosis, identifying specific allergic triggers will confirm the diagnosis and help patients better prepare for the season.  Allergy testing can be done with an allergist using either a skin or blood test.  Skin testing is considered to be the most convenient and most specific screening method for allergies.

 Tips and treatment options for seasonal allergies fall into 3 categories; avoiding your allergy triggers, taking medications, and immunotherapy. 

Avoidance- Know your triggers

  • Limit outdoor activities on high pollen count days
  • Keep doors and windows closed at home and in cars during the pollen season, use air conditioning
  • Wear a face mask when working outside
  • Take a shower, wash hair and change clothing after being outdoors
  • Monitor pollen counts during the allergy season

Medications 

  • Antihistamines are available in 3 forms, oral tabs, nasal sprays and eye drops.  They are helpful in treating itchy and watery eyes as well as sneezing and runny nose.
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays reduce inflammation and treat nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose and eyes. 
  • Decongestants can be used for temporary relief of nasal congestion but should not be used long term due to side effects.

Immunotherapy

Allergy immunotherapy is a series of shots that are designed to desensitize patients to their allergens.  This is for long term benefit for allergy sufferers and takes 3-5 years to complete.

Talk with an Allergist Today

Seasonal allergies can substantially affect your quality of life.  Knowing your allergy triggers can help you better prepare for the season and minimize missed days from work or school. Monitor pollen counts daily and start taking over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications a few weeks before allergy season arrives. If you are still symptomatic despite avoidance of allergens and using OTC medications, speak with an Allergy & Immunology specialist to help confirm your specific allergies and determine what treatment is right for you. Same day appointments are now available through Telehealth. Don’t wait until allergy season hits, schedule yours today!

 

 

 

 

Amy DiMase PA-C, is an Allergy & Immunology Physician Assistant at Crystal Run Healthcare. She completed her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and her clinical interests include allergy testing and food allergies. Amy is seeing patients in Middletown and through Telehealth appointments.

Gina L. DiCostanzo ACNP-BC, is an Allergy and Immunology Nurse Practitioner at Crystal Run Healthcare. She completed her Master of Science degree in Nursing at University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. She is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and her clinical interests include allergy, dermatology, urgent care, and geriatrics. Gina is seeing patients in West Nyack and through Telehealth appointments.