Seasonal allergies nothing to sneeze at

Published 10:44 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

It almost seems like a rite of passage each year. We endure frosty temperatures and the rare snow flurry only to fall right into the middle of allergies. Gone are the days of ice on the windows to the days of the slight tint of yellow, made possible by pollen.

Seasonal allergy sufferers are near the height of their sniffling and suffering this time of year as tree pollen hits its peak and as grass pollen remains strong.

“We have seen a lot of people recently suffering from allergies,” Dr. Jeff Price, with Chilton Family Medicine, said Friday. “The weather is warming up and everyone is getting more active outdoors. Everyone is a little more exposed.”

Price, along with Wright Drugs pharmacist Joe Jones, said over-the-counter medications such as Zyrtec and Claritin work well for the seasonal allergy sufferer.

“Right now, people are getting a lot of eye drops and over-the-counter medicines for these short-term allergies,” Jones said. “But these don’t really provide the results for those that suffer year-round allergies.”

Price said if there are those suffering year-round with an allergy, it might be wise to get an allergy test to find out what may be causing the allergy.

Jones also offered notice that allergies often change as a person ages, noting that he just recently developed an allergy to certain shellfish.

“It took me three times to finally realize that it was an allergy,” Jones said. “Many times, what bothered a person when they were younger doesn’t bother them when they are older.”

As for seasonal allergies related to pollen, Price and Jones both say it’s hard to just avoid what may be causing the problem. Both doctors advise allergy sufferers to find what works and stick with it.

“If you find that one over-the-counter medicine works, then keep using it,” Jones said.

Price offered some of the symptoms of allergies can be as mild as sneezing and itching, to swelling and severe breathing problems.