Springtime Allergies: What You Should Know

It’s that time of year again–the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and allergens are everywhere. If you’re one of the nearly 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies annually, this is the time of year to buckle down, grab the tissues, and wait until Summer comes. However, Springtime doesn’t have to mean a whole season’s worth of misery, no matter how many flowers are blooming.

Oklahoma Otolaryngologist’s Association understands how difficult it can be to deal with your seasonal allergies. The snot, the itchy eyes and hives; allergies can cause a constant level of discomfort and take away from your ability to live your life comfortably. So how do you cope with such a ubiquitous issue?

The first step towards treating allergies is understanding them. At their most basic, allergies are an immune response to foreign bodies, meaning your body reacts to the presence of pet dander or pollen (among many other things) by treating it as a hostile body. Though this may sound complicated, the underlying mechanism is fairly simple: your body is misinterpreting something harmless as a threat, and reacting accordingly by trying to flush it out or limit exposure.

Knowing that your symptoms are caused by the presence of a foreign body can be a great starting point in fighting seasonal allergies. The next step, of course, is to find out which allergen you’re allergic to, specifically. Fortunately, there are a number of tests that a specialist can perform in order to establish which seasonal allergens you’re sensitive to. The specialist will choose the best test to administer, and will expose you to a range of allergens in a controlled manner. With any luck, this will point you in the right direction.

But what do you do once you find out what it is that happens to be causing your symptoms?

This is the point at which treatment will begin to vary from patient to patient. Depending on what the cause is, there are different ways to address seasonal allergies. There are a number of general techniques to solve the problem, however: first, if the allergen is limited in scope or can only be found in certain locations, then it may be possible to simply avoid the trigger altogether. Second, a number of readily available medications exist to suppress the symptoms of your allergies, allowing you to manage the symptoms without seeking too much medical treatment.

Allergies typically do not cause dangerous reactions. However, the possibility exists that exposure of a particularly sensitive individual to a certain trigger may lead to a reaction called “anaphylaxis,” which can progress from the initial symptoms to more serious issues like seizures and respiratory distress. It is important, if you know that you’ve had severe reactions in the past, to establish the exact trigger to limit dangerous exposure.

Though allergies cannot be cured, it is possible to manage the symptoms allergies cause. Along with elimination of triggers, medication and treatment programs can allow you to manage your symptoms to get on with your life. If you dread the arrival of spring and the seasonal allergies it brings, don’t worry! Oklahoma Otolaryngologist’s Association has the knowledge and expertise to help you enjoy the season. Don’t wait–contact us today!

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