Sonia Jauher spent most of her life without seasonal allergies. However, a few years ago, after moving from New York City to the outskirts of Long Island, obvious symptoms began. “My eyes felt itchy and heavy as if they were stuffed with cotton,” she told CBS News. “I also became sleepy and had sinusitis.”
However, at the age of 44, Jauhar was confused by the newly discovered suffering. “I couldn’t understand how these symptoms first appeared in my 40s,” she said.
Jauhar’s experience is not uncommon. According to experts, many people develop seasonal allergies for the first time in adulthood. Part of the reason may be that we are in a season of more severe allergies. “This is an inevitable result of these very high pollen numbers and continued exposure to the severe allergy season,” said Nita Ogden, an allergy expert and spokesman for the American University of Allergy and Asthma Immunology. The doctor says. “Repeated exposure can” sensitize “everyone and develop seasonal allergies. “
Dr. Aidan Long, clinical director of allergy and immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, explained that allergies have both genetic and environmental components. “A certain number of us are prone to developing allergies from our parents,” he said. “But when people start developing symptoms depends on their exposure. There is a certain threshold for exposure, and when they reach that, they begin to experience allergic symptoms.”
At first, it can be difficult to tell if a first-time patient has an allergy or a cold. One way to tell the difference is to recognize that while sneezing and runny nose can be a sign of an allergy or viral infection, some symptoms are unique to each. “Colds are often accompanied by fever and sore throat,” he said. “Usually, allergies do not have these symptoms, but most are confined to the eyes and nose. The main symptom of allergies is itching.”
The length of time you are suffering can also help you discern the difference. “People should suspect allergies if the symptoms last for more than 7 to 10 days,” Ogden said.
Allergies can be treated with many medications. Ogden recommends starting with over-the-counter 24-hour antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec. According to her, nasal steroid sprays may help with symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. She also uses saline rinses on the nose and eyes to relieve itching and instruct the patient to use antihistamine eye drops. “If these steps don’t work, we highly recommend that you see a board-certified allergist for your symptoms,” she said. “It’s better and more efficient than messing around with over-the-counter drugs that can actually make things worse.”
Ogden helped Jauhar find the right drug combination to relieve allergies in spring and autumn.
In addition, there are other practical steps that people can take to alleviate allergy-related symptoms. “Pollen peaks early in the afternoon, so if you want to be outdoors, go early in the morning, not the second half of the day,” Long said. “Pollen can stick to your clothes, so it’s very helpful to take off your clothes and take a shower immediately after you go out.”
First-time allergic patients: what you need to know
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