Q: Recently I’ve been experiencing itchy eyes and a scratchy throat, especially when spending time outdoors. Could this be seasonal allergies? What can I do to help relieve them?
A: Many patients experience symptoms like yours in the spring and fall around the Greater Dayton area. Often, they also have a runny nose, headaches, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy skin, or even hives. These are all symptoms that constitute the medical definition of seasonal allergies.
Essentially, your body is treating an otherwise harmless substance (pollen from ragweed, grass, tress, or flowers) like a foreign invader. These “invaders” trigger an immune response that results in the symptoms you’ve mentioned. Sometimes the symptoms are mild; however, many people experience moderate to severe allergies that require medical intervention.
If you think you are experiencing seasonal allergies, here are a few preventative measures to help control your symptoms:
- Avoid triggers such as cigarette smoke, pet dander, and allergens.
- Keep your windows closed, and run your air conditioning to circulate clean air.
- Make sure you have an air filtration system installed.
- Pay attention to local weather forecasts, and do your best to stay indoors when mold and pollen levels are high.
If avoiding these triggers is not effective in controlling your symptoms, further steps may be needed. Many over-the-counter options help with allergies, and sometimes allergy shots or prescription medications may be appropriate.
If you have any questions about allergies or medication to treat them, ask your primary care physician. He or she will be able to direct you to the most effective and specific treatment for you.
Nicholas R. Bellanco, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician with Kettering Physician Network Primary Care at Sugarcreek Health Center.
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