Spring is here, but so are allergies

March 21, 2014 by Cedric Ricks

Spring has finally arrived in Cincinnati, but soon to follow will be the coughing, sneezing and wheezing that comes with allergies, hay fever and asthma—three warm weather killjoys most could do without.

"Tree allergy season begins late March and goes through late May or early June," says Jonathan Bernstein, MD, an expert in allergies and asthma and a professor in University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "Individuals sensitized to tree pollen aeroallergens will experience itching of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, runny nose, post nasal drainage, and often headaches and sinus pressure or pain."

Approximately 70 million Americans suffer from (allergies or ), with about half affected by , says Bernstein, director of clinical research in the division of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at UC and a physician at UC Health.

Patients with allergic rhinitis are at a three-fold increase in risk of developing asthma, says Bernstein. Often patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis complain of chest tightness or wheezing during the pollen season.

So what can you do?

Cincinnati is just beginning to enjoy , but for allergy and hay fever sufferers keeping the windows closed at home and running the air conditioner when possible could help reduce some symptoms, says Bernstein.

"Treatment with such as nasal corticosteroids and nasal antihistamines can help reduce inflammation in the nasal airways if used on a regular basis," says Bernstein. Often these treatments can be used alone to control symptoms, but sometimes it might be necessary to use an oral low-sedating antihistamine (such as fexofenadine, cetirizine or loratadine) with or without eye drop medication."

"There are now many non-sedating or low-sedating antihistamines over-the-counter and recently a nasal corticosteroid was cleared by the FDA for over-the-counter sale," says Bernstein, referring to the allergy nasal spray triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort AQ).

"All these medications should be used under the supervision of a physician," he says. "Long-term treatment includes allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) in properly selected patients which can induce tolerance to aeroallergens."

Tree allergy season won't last forever and as it ends in late May, grass season will begin and continue until mid-July. Individuals who battle Ragweed allergies won't have to deal with the seasonal sniffles until mid-August, but will have relief when the first frost arrives, says Bernstein.

Related Stories

Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows

August 25, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Hot chili peppers are known to make people "tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived ...

Managing seasonal allergies

June 17, 2013

(HealthDay)—Although spring arrived late this year in parts of the United States, the summer allergy season will still be strong, according to a sinus expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Got the sniffles? Migraines spike with allergies and hay fever

November 25, 2013

People with migraine who also battle allergies and hay fever (rhinitis) endure a more severe form of headaches than their peers who struggle with migraine, but aren't affected by the seasonal or year-round sniffles, according ...

New nasal filter looks promising for allergy sufferers

March 7, 2014

A small filter the size of a contact lens could possibly make life easier for some of the estimated 500 million people worldwide who suffer from itching, sneezing and a runny nose as soon as the pollen season starts.

Could 'nasal filter' device help ease allergies?

March 21, 2014

(HealthDay)— A new device that you wear in your nose—about the size of a contact lens and works like a miniature air filter for a furnace—might help filter out pollen and other allergens and keep them out of your sinuses.

Recommended for you

How to become a T follicular helper cell

July 30, 2015

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the ...

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders

July 20, 2015

The human immune system is a powerful and wonderful creation. If you cut your skin, your body mobilizes a series of different proteins and cells to heal the cut. If you are infected by a virus or bacteria, your immune system ...

The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

July 10, 2015

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.