(Dennison, Ohio) – Sneezing, itchy-watery eyes, coughing…it’s that time of year again!
In this week’s Healthy Tip Tuesday, Trinity Hosptial Twin City is breaking down the issue of allergies, which are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. Allergies-related illnesses see an annual cost in excess of $18 billion with more than 50 million Americans suffering each year.
And according to THTC experts, even though they occur year-round, allergies are more frequent in the spring and the fall. Trinity officials explain that indoor allergies also occur this time of year, mostly from dust and pet dander. Symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, sore throat, a post-nasal drip, sneezing, stuffy nose, rashes, itchy skin, and occasional wheezing when breathing.
Springtime allergies are caused by growing grass, tree pollen, weeds and molds that grow under leaves left on the ground from the previous fall. In the fall, ragweed is the main cause of many allergies.
What’s the Problem?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to substances that generally do not affect other individuals. These substances, or allergens, can cause sneezing, coughing, and itching. Allergic reactions range from merely bothersome to life-threatening. Some allergies are seasonal, like hay fever. Allergies have also been associated with chronic conditions like sinusitis and asthma.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone may have or develop an allergy – from a baby born with an allergy to cow’s milk, to a child who gets poison ivy, to a senior citizen who develops hives after taking a new medication.
Can it be Prevented?
The CDC indicates that allergies can generally not be prevented but allergic reactions can be. Once a person knows they are allergic to a certain substance, they can avoid contact with the allergen. Strategies for doing this include being in an air-conditioned environment during peak hay-fever season, avoiding certain foods, and eliminating dust mites and animal dander from the home. They can also control the allergy by reducing or eliminating the symptoms. Strategies include taking medication to counteract reactions or minimize symptoms and being immunized with allergy injection therapy.
The Bottom Line:
- The most common allergic diseases include hay fever, asthma, conjunctivitis, hives, eczema, dermatitis, and sinusitis.
- Food allergies are most prevalent in young children and are frequently outgrown.
- Latex allergies are a reaction to the proteins in latex rubber, a substance used in gloves, condoms and other products.
- Bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants can cause insect sting allergies.
- Allergies to drugs, like penicillin, can affect any tissue or organ in the body.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include flush; tingling of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or lips; light-headedness, and chest tightness. If not treated, these can progress into seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, shock, and respiratory distress. Anaphylaxis can result in death. Food, latex, insect sting, and drug allergies can all result in anaphylaxis
THTC notes that thankfully there are effective ways to decrease allergy symptoms. Pollen counts can be found for your area on www.webmd.com and also on your favorite weather channel or weather website. When pollen counts are high, close windows and stay inside if possible. Use air conditioning or a fan to circulate air in your home. Be sure your heating and cooling units have a good air filter and remember to clean or replace it often.
Other tips to lessen your chances of an allergic reaction:
- When outdoors, wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your hair and eyelashes.
- Wearing pants and long sleeves will limit exposure too. It’s also a good idea to shower every night to remove any pollen and avoid pollen when you can.
If your allergy symptoms are severe, talk to your healthcare provider about which over-the-counter medications or other treatments could help you. The providers at Trinity Medical Group are able to help you control your allergy symptoms.
Healthy Tip Tuesday is an exclusive partnership between Newsymom.com and Trinity Hospital Twin City Designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest and most relevant information you need to keep you and your family healthy.