Know the difference between allergies and a cold. Dr. Carolyn R. Word, board certified in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says if cold-like symptoms last more than two weeks, those symptoms may actually be the result of allergies. At that point, it’s time for a visit to a board-certified allergist for a skin test to determine your specific allergies and the proper course of treatment.
The timing of taking antihistamines really does matter. Pick up those over-the-counter meds at least two weeks before the spring season. If you wait until your symptoms develop, it’s too late.
The best way to truly alleviate symptoms is with an allergy shot. At Charleston Allergy & Asthma, doctors administer a skin test to determine an individual’s allergies and then mix an extract specific to those allergies. Shots are done once a week initially, eventually tapering down to once a month.
Tracking the pollen is important. Pollen.com provides a very general idea of the local pollen count, but checking with a pollen counting station certified by the National Allergy Bureau, such as Charleston Allergy & Asthma, offers the most accurate information. When the counts are high – 10 to 12 – more people may notice their symptoms flare up.
People who are allergic to grass and ragweed can take pills rather than shots. The FDA has approved an oral allergy tablet for those two allergens with one for dust mites expected in the next two years.
Even young children can experience allergies. Children under 2 are most likely having issues from inhalant allergens, such as dust mites or pet dander. Older children may be allergic to environmental triggers like pollen and grass. Antihistamines are safe for young children, although some have a sedating effect.
Contrary to popular belief eating local honey does nothing for you. Bees eat pollen, but that doesn’t transfer in any significant amount to the honey. Plus, most blooming plants don’t pollenate and that’s usually where the bees are spending their time.