Understanding the anatomy of allergy season
(NC)—With snowy days behind us, Canadians are coming out of hibernation and looking to spend time outdoors again. But, allergy sufferers may not be looking forward to springtime as weeds, grass and tree pollen are ready to send symptoms into overdrive. Asthma sufferers may be dreading the season change as well, since the same environmental factors that can cause allergy symptoms may also trigger asthma symptoms and even asthma attacks.
The first step in the battle against allergies, and potential asthma attacks, is to learn what allergens impact you and avoid them. Since avoidance isn't always possible, here are some tips for alleviating the bothersome symptoms associated with key areas of the body:
NOSE – Allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever, affects approximately one in four Canadians. Nasal symptoms include nasal congestion, watery runny nose, nasal itching and sneezing. There are many over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants available and drug-free nasal strips may offer additional relief of nasal congestion at night to improve sleep, since they open up the nose, thereby improving airflow. For more severe symptoms, your doctor can prescribe a nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce the inflammation inside your nose.
EYES – Applying a cold compress or eye drops may offer some relief for itchy, watery eyes caused by seasonal allergies. In more acute cases, some prescribed nasal corticosteroid sprays can also offer relief for bothersome eye symptoms.
LUNGS – Seventy-five per cent of asthma patients also suffer with seasonal allergies. Unlike seasonal allergies, asthma isn't a temporary condition (even though asthma symptoms may be episodic). To reduce the risk of an asthma attack during allergy season and throughout the year, it's important to take your asthma medication(s) as prescribed to relieve symptoms and help maintain control.
At your next visit, talk to your doctor about your allergy and asthma symptoms and discuss which treatment options may be right for you.
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