Tips for allergy relief - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

FOX Medical Team

Tips for allergy relief

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ATLANTA -

If you suffer from springtime allergies, you're probably not a happy camper right now.

Last spring we got hit really early. This year, the weather has been all over the map, which could affect the springtime allergy season.

We got warmth and higher pollen counts when it was supposed to be cold in January and then cold and low pollen counts when things were supposed to be warming up in March.

Atlanta allergy and asthma specialist Dr. Stanley Fineman says that Mother Nature's confusion may have left people overly sensitive now that the pollen counts are really climbing.   

"So when they're re-exposed, the first two weeks in April, they're set up to have an even more violent reaction than they've had before," Fineman.
 
If you're feeling sensitive Dr. Fineman says the first step is to get tested.

Ask your doctor or allergist for a skin test to pinpoint what exactly you're allergic to. It could be tree pollen, or grass, or mold or a mixture of those things.

Then, once you know what's causing your runny nose and congestion, head for your drugstore.

"One of the first lines of treatment is an oral antihistamine," Fineman said.

Fineman recommends Claritan, Allegra, Zyrtec or their generic equivalents. All these medications are available without a prescription. He says pick a long-lasting, non-drowsy formula.

If you prefer an older antihistamine like Benadryl, Dr. Fineman says just be aware it might make you feel sleepy.
 
"They don't want to go in and take one of the over the counter antihistamines that could cause sedation and then go drive home because that could be a problem,' Fineman said.

If you're not sure which medication to choose, ask your pharmacist for a recommendation.

Each day, before you head out, check the pollen count. If the levels of your allergen are high, take your medication daily, and don't stop just because you feel better. If you don't stick with it, it could be a very long spring.
   
If you like to be outdoors and don't want to give that up? Try to limit yourself to the times of the day pollen counts are lower. Exercise early in the morning, or at twilight.

When you come back in, take off your clothes and throw them in the laundry and take a shower.

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