Springtime wreaks havoc on allergy sufferers

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

A fitful allergy attack is nothing to sneeze at.

With springtime comes the usual increase of pollens and purchases of tissue as allergy sufferers hit the drugstore seeking relief. From sneezing to itchy, watering eyes to breathing difficulties, the seasonal allergy can be a pain in the sinuses.

But someone new to the area might now know if they're dealing with a cold or allergies. Dr. Philip Schlager of Carson Medical Group offers information for the patient to decipher.

"The symptoms are similar, but with a cold you could have fever, scratchy throat, body aches and burning eyes," Schlager said. "The itchy eyes come with allergies, and sometimes a cough."

The most common over-the-counter medications used by allergy sufferers include Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Tavist, Drixoral and Nasalcrom. Schlager recommends those who are product shopping to choose what works best for them.

"Some people just don't like putting things in their eyes and nose," Schlager added. "But when your eyes are real itchy, eye drops are a great relief."

During an exam, Schlager checks ears " which sometimes collect fluid and get a plugged feeling to them " the nose and throat.

"Turbinates get swollen and bumpy in the back of the throat, and some people get a cough, so I check the lungs.

"Nasal steroid sprays like Flonase, Nasonex, Astepro, Patoanase, are some of the more commonly prescribed medications. Patients are saying the corticosteroid nasal sprays work better for them. One other thing about colds and allergies, allergies come back the same week every year."

Schlager says there are three options to the patient during allergy season. One, avoidance. Keep indoors, windows up, don't expose yourself if at all possible.

Two, find the best medication that works for you and that is most convenient. Some meds are only directed to be taken once a day.

Three, if all else fails, show commitment to alleviating your symptoms by taking shots once a week, one to four shots each session.

"The biggest reason people come in is the itchy eyes, that's their main complaint," Schlager said. "I'll also prescribe Singulair for patients who have a cough and haven't responded to other things."

Recent pollen counts show grasses are high and weeds are moving into the very high range. Trees, including birch, cedar and oak are at moderate levels.

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