Fall is upon us which means, school has resumed for children and Friday night high school and Saturday Husker football games are in full swing as well as the recurring fall allergy season. For those of us with fall allergies being outdoors even for a short period of time results in misery, sneezing, runny nose and itchy watery eyes brought on by ragweed allergy and then later by our fall mold allergies.
Typically, the fall ragweed season begins around August 15th, but sometimes earlier. Ragweed tends to peak in the morning hours but once a person is affected even a small amount of exposure will trigger allergy symptoms. Mold allergies typically start later in the fall as the leaves are being blown off the trees. And for those with allergic asthma, wheezing and coughing will be triggered by their allergies.
The simplest treatment for allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergen, but many of us still want to enjoy a variety of outdoor fall activities. So, what are some alternative solutions? A simple, consistent regimen of a nasal saline rinse, can flush the nose of allergens; just as routine use of saline eye drops, can clear allergens from the eyes. Additional treatment options include over-the-counter antihistamines. Generic brands, with once-daily dosing, can block the histamine effects of nasal itching and sneezing. Over-the-counter, topical nasal steroids, can be used for more severe allergy symptoms, especially congestion. Allergy antihistamine eye drops are also available without a prescription, if oral antihistamines and topical nasal steroids are insufficient in relieving symptoms.
For those whose symptoms are severe and not controlled with over-the-counter medications, additional prescription medications are available.
In many cases of severe allergies, evaluation is necessary to provide an effective treatment plan that may or may not include allergy injections (shots). Steroid shots are to be avoided due to possible long-term side effects, but a brief course of oral steroids in select patients may be required.
Fall asthma requires evaluation and treatment as no over-the-counter medications are available for asthma. While a rescue inhaler is necessary, additional controller medications may also be prescribed, along with appropriate follow-up to ensure adequate treatment of asthma.
Our physicians and physicians assistants wish you the best this fall season and welcome you to contact Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Associates for additional information regarding your fall allergies or asthma or to schedule an appointment.