To some, springtime means warmer weather, open windows and the desire to be outside.
For others, spring causes severe allergies that can lead to frustrating symptoms.
Seasonal allergies are very common in Kentucky. Even more, an estimated 50 million — one in five — Americans suffer from allergies of some type, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
People who suffer know the common symptoms all too well.
Symptoms can include a runny nose, scratchy or sore throat, itchy ears, sinus pressure, headache, watery or itchy eyes or a cough.
In some cases, people who have seasonal allergies also deal with fatigue.
For those who suffer from common outdoor allergies, including pollen, grasses, weeds, etc., physicians recommend staying indoors on dry and windy days when the allergens are typically the worst. Avoid gardening or yard work all together, or change clothes and take a shower immediately after outdoor activities to keep the pollens from causing further irritation.
Pay close attention to weather reports to see when allergy triggers are especially high. During those days in particular, avoid opening windows and limit outdoor activities.
For treatment of typical allergy symptoms, an oral antihistamine can often provide relief.
These medications are available over-the-counter and there are multiple brand names available.
Many oral antihistamines are also safe for teens and kids, however it is best to consult with a physician before beginning an allergy treatment routine.
Steroid nasal sprays can also help when used on a daily basis along with an oral antihistamine.
Nasal decongestant sprays, however, should be avoided as they can cause a rebound effect such as Rhinitis medicamentosa, or damage to the nasal passage.
It is important to treat the source of the drainage to reduce allergy symptoms. Nasal drainage travels through the nose and can clog the ears, nose and throat, leaving patients stuffy and uncomfortable.
When allergy symptoms cause drainage that clogs the sinuses, a sinus infection can develop within about 10 days.
Sinus infection symptoms include a fever, tooth pain, facial pressure and body aches. In this case, a trip to your primary care provider is necessary for an oral antibiotic prescription.
When experiencing allergy symptoms, be mindful of signs that a viral infection is developing.
A fever is often a sign of more than just seasonal allergies. Thick yellow mucus, along with fever, chills, body aches and worsening symptoms can also indicate a viral infection.
For many allergy sufferers, avoiding outdoor activities when allergens are high and pre-empting symptoms with over-the-counter medications can help keep seasonal allergy symptoms at bay.