SOOTHE SEA­SONAL AL­LER­GIES

THE DOC­TOR SAYS…

Best Health - - CONTENTS -

AALLERGIES CAN DE­VELOP at any age. Sea­sonal al­ler­gies usu­ally be­gin in child­hood – though some­times they start in ado­les­cence or young adult­hood – but you can de­velop al­ler­gies as an adult, too.

Com­mon sea­sonal al­ler­gens, such as trees, grass and pollen, ex­ist through­out the sum­mer and can be found in high con­cen­tra­tions on cer­tain days (your lo­cal weather re­port should be able to give you a daily pollen count). If you think you might be al­ler­gic to some of these, talk to your fam­ily doc­tor about see­ing an al­lergy spe­cial­ist. An al­lergy spe­cial­ist will re­view your med­i­cal his­tory and give you a skin test to de­ter­mine any po­ten­tial al­ler­gies.

Al­ler­gies can also be based on your en­vi­ron­ment. If you move, your al­ler­gies may change and you could de­velop sen­si­tiv­i­ties to other al­ler­gens in your en­vi­ron­ment.

There are many types of treat­ment avail­able to re­lieve al­lergy symp­toms. En­vi­ron­men­tal changes, such as keep­ing your win­dows closed in sum­mer and us­ing air con­di­tion­ing, can pro­vide some re­lief – just be sure to change your air fil­ters as re­quired. At home, fre­quent clean­ing and vac­u­um­ing can help pre­vent a buildup of dust mites and pet dan­der, both of which are com­mon al­ler­gens. If you have area rugs in your home, try putting them away in sum­mer – it can of­ten be eas­ier to clean the dust off hard­wood floors than car­pets. Wear a dust mask over your nose and mouth if you’re do­ing work out­doors in sum­mer, such as mow­ing your lawn or gar­den­ing.

At work, dust­ing your im­me­di­ate work area can also pro­vide re­lief. Hav­ing plants can help clean the air, but be sure to wipe the leaves with a moist cloth to pre­vent dust from set­tling.

You can con­sider med­i­ca­tions such as an­ti­his­tamines, in­tranasal steroids and pre­scrip­tion eye drops. It’s best to talk to your fam­ily physi­cian be­fore start­ing reg­u­lar med­i­ca­tions.

If your al­ler­gies are quite se­vere and you aren’t re­spond­ing well to med­i­ca­tions, you could try im­munother­apy, which is a treat­ment that uses reg­u­lar vac­ci­na­tions to re­duce al­ler­gen sen­si­tiv­i­ties. How­ever, there is a rare risk of an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. Talk to your fam­ily physi­cian about what is best for you.

“IF YOU MOVE, YOUR AL­LER­GIES MAY CHANGE AND YOU COULD DE­VELOP SEN­SI­TIV­I­TIES TO OTHER AL­LER­GENS IN YOUR EN­VI­RON­MENT.”

DR. ERIC LEITH

is an al­lergy spe­cial­ist at Women’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal,

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