Spring has sprung in Texas! And, the oak pollen has begun collecting on your car. Do you suffer from hay fever, nasal congestion and ear infections in the spring? Do you ever get seasonal rashes or have trouble breathing? Allergies could be to blame. Allergic disorders rank first among chronic diseases, and an estimated 15-20 percent of the American population has some type of allergy — usually appearing during infancy or childhood. Yet, if allergy problems are identified early, your quality of life can improve, allowing you to get back to enjoying life again.
So which people are most likely to suffer from allergies? It is possible for anyone to develop allergies, but it is considerably more likely for those with relatives with a history of allergies. While you may inherit the tendency to become allergic from your parents, only some of you will develop active allergic disease.
Allergies can show up in different ways. Some people have nasal symptoms, others develop asthma and some may get skin rashes. Understanding your allergies is the first step in controlling them. Therefore, it is important that you know what signs to be aware of. The most common symptoms of allergies are:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
We all know that many of those symptoms can also be indicative of the common cold. So how can you tell the difference? There are several signs that differentiate allergies from a cold. The first are symptoms that last for more than seven to 10 days. Colds rarely last more than a week. You could also look for nose rubbing. Those with nasal allergies often rub their noses in an upward motion, commonly called an allergic salute. Mouth breathing can be a sign of allergies. Congestion that comes from nasal allergies can cause you to breathe through the mouth, especially while sleeping.
If you play with pets, take note if nasal symptoms seem to flare up around your pet. If so, it could be a sign of allergic sensitivity. Those with allergies usually tend to have symptoms that seem to worsen while outdoors, due to pollen and other outdoor mold spores. Some signs of a cold that are not associated with nasal allergies include fever and body aches. Once you have been diagnosed with allergies, reducing your contact with certain triggers will help make your environment healthier. By making the following changes in and around your home, you can find relief from nasal allergy symptoms.
- Keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner during allergy season.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Use a high-quality allergen air filter for the air conditioning system.
Dodge Dust Mites
- Consider wood or tile floors rather than carpeting.
- Clean and dust your home regularly, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
- Wash bedding frequently in hot water
- Use zippered, allergy-proof covers on you or your child’s box spring, mattress and pillows.
- Keep stuffed toys stored in a closed toy box when not in use.
Evade Animal Dander
- Keep pets out of your bedroom and outdoors, if at all possible.
- Bathe your pet regularly.
- Keep pets off of your furniture and out of your car.
Elude Mold Spores
- Run your air conditioner or dehumidifier during high-humidity seasons.
- Keep potted plants out of your bedroom.
- Make sure wet carpets are dried within 24 hours to prevent mold growth.
If nasal allergies aren’t treated properly, they can make you miserable so it’s essential to pay attention to symptoms. If you notice any of these signs and suspect you may be suffering from allergies, you should contact your doctor right away.
For more information call Scott & White Round Rock Allergy Clinic at 512.509.0200 or visit www.sw.org.