Coping with Springtime Allergies

By Posted : 09/16/2004

If you're like most people, springtime is a welcome visitor after dealing with the snow, sleet, and ice of winter. However, for allergy sufferers, springtime isn't always something to look forward to. Flowers start to bloom, grass and weeds come back to life, and allergy season kicks into high gear. You know the symptoms:

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1. Itchy, watery eyes
2. Runny nose
3. Sinus pressure
4. Sneezing
5. Headaches

Where do they come from?
One of the most common seasonal allergies is hay fever. The culprits that cause this allergy are allergens such as ragweed, pollen, and grass. Many people also suffer from allergies to pets, dust, and certain foods, but typically these allergies are not affected by seasonal changes.

What's age got to do with it?
You may be surprised to learn that allergies can surface at any age. If you've made it through your 30s, 40s, or 50s allergy free, you may think that you're in the clear. However, just as children can outgrow their allergies as they get older, adults can develop allergies later in life.

How can I get rid of them?
If you know you suffer from allergies or you suspect that your annual springtime cold is actually an allergy, talk to your doctor. Your medical provider can analyze your symptoms and work with you to find the best way to relieve your symptoms. Doctors regularly prescribe antihistamines and decongestants to treat allergies. Although antihistamines have been known to cause drowsiness, many prescription medications are available that can make you feel better without putting you to sleep.

In addition to medication, you can take the following steps to limit your exposure to the allergens causing your misery:

  • Pollen counts soar in the early morning and evening hours--plan your outings accordingly.
  • Keep pollen from getting indoors. Close your windows and turn on the air conditioning.
  • Avoid exposure to freshly mowed grass--find someone else to mow the lawn.
  • Remember that pollen clings to hair and clothing. Try not to bring it with you when you go indoors.

Will my health insurance pay for treatment?
Most insurers will pay for medical care associated with allergy treatment. However, you should check with your insurance company before seeking treatment to be sure that you're covered. If you follow the guidelines set by your insurance company, you shouldn't have any problems. For example, if you belong to an HMO, you're required to get a referral from your primary care provider before seeing an allergist.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

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