Health & Fitness

First-time allergy sufferers: What you need to know

Sonia Jauhar lived most of her life freed from seasonal allergy symptoms. However a few years in the past, after shifting to a suburban space of Lengthy Island from New York Metropolis, the telltale signs started. “My eyes felt itchy and heavy like they have been full of cotton,” she advised. “I felt sleepy and had a sinus headache, too.”

However at age 44, Jauhar was baffled by her new-found struggling. “I could not perceive how I used to be getting these signs for the primary time in my 40’s,” she mentioned.

Jauhar’s expertise will not be unusual. Consultants say many individuals are creating seasonal allergy symptoms for the primary time nicely into their maturity. A part of the rationale could also be that we’re having extra intense allergy seasons. “It is the inevitable consequence of continued publicity to those actually excessive pollen counts and extreme allergy seasons,” mentioned Dr. Neeta Ogden, an allergy specialist and spokesperson for the American School of Allergy, Bronchial asthma and Immunology. “With repeated publicity anybody can get ‘sensitized’ and develop seasonal allergy symptoms.”

Dr. Aidan Lengthy, scientific director of Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts Basic Hospital and affiliate professor of medication at Harvard Medical College, defined that there is each a genetic and environmental element to allergy symptoms. “A sure variety of us are predisposed to develop allergy symptoms from our mother and father,” he mentioned. “However when folks begin creating signs depends upon publicity. There is a sure threshold of publicity and as soon as they attain it, they may then begin experiencing allergy signs.”

At first, it could be tough for first-time victims to find out if they’ve allergy symptoms or a standard chilly. One strategy to inform the distinction, Lengthy mentioned, is to acknowledge that whereas sneezing and a runny nostril may very well be an indication of both allergy symptoms or a viral an infection, some signs are particular to every. “A chilly typically comes with a fever and sore throat,” he mentioned. “Allergy symptoms usually haven’t got these signs, however are principally localized to the eyes and nostril. And the cardinal symptom of allergy symptoms is itchiness.”

The size of time you are struggling may also provide help to inform the distinction. “If signs are hanging out for longer than seven to 10 days, folks ought to suspect allergy symptoms,” Ogden mentioned.

Allergy symptoms could be handled with plenty of drugs. Ogden recommends beginning with an over-the-counter, 24-hour antihistamine like Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec. Nasal steroid sprays could be useful, she mentioned, for signs like sneezing and a relentless runny nostril. She additionally tells her sufferers to make use of a saline rinse for his or her nostril and eyes and antihistamine eye drops to appease the itchiness. “If these steps do not work, I actually suggest that individuals see a board-certified allergist for his or her signs,” she mentioned. “It is higher and extra environment friendly than messing round with over-the-counter drugs that may really make issues worse.”

Ogden helped Jauhar discover the right combination of medicines to alleviate her allergy symptoms within the spring and fall.

Moreover, there are different sensible steps folks can take to assist cut back allergy-related signs. “Pollen reaches its peak stage within the early afternoon, so if you wish to be outdoor, do it early within the morning, relatively than later within the day,” Lengthy mentioned. “Pollen may also keep on with your garments, so after being exterior, taking off your garments and showering instantly could be very useful.”

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