You can feel it in the air as the seasons are beginning to change. Spring
is coming and everyone seems ready for warmer weather. Well, everyone
except for allergy sufferers – and for good reason. “Unfortunately,
as the temperature outside begins to rise, so does the pollen and mold
count,” explains Paige Parker, DO, of
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Viewmont. “Those are the two biggest culprits that plague allergy sufferers.”
Don’t let allergy symptoms make you miserable this spring. Here are
four ways you can prepare for spring allergy season now, before it strikes.
1. Treat problems before they start.
“Don’t wait until you’re sneezing or have a stuffy nose
to see your primary care provider,” advises Dr. Parker. “Your
provider may have other specific suggestions for you or may prescribe
medications, such as antihistamines and inhalers, to help control your
symptoms. If you have a history of seasonal allergies, we recommend starting
medications to alleviate symptoms at least two weeks before they are expected
to begin. This is because once inflammation sets in, antihistamines (medication
commonly used to treat allergies) don’t work as efficiently.”
2. Get tested to know what to avoid.
Allergy testing involves an in-office skin testing of 48 common airborne
and environmental allergies from our area. This includes pet allergies,
dust mites, tree, grass and weed pollens, mold spores and insect droppings.
“Based on a patient’s reactions to this allergen exposure,
we attempt to identify ways to avoid exposure to what the patient is allergic
to as well as suggest medication changes that may help control the symptoms
better,” explains Dr. Parker.
3. Build your immunity.
Although medications can help control the symptoms of allergies, for many
patients they do not provide a long-term solution for relief. If this
is the case, your provider may recommend allergy shots as being a viable
option for you.
“After you’ve been tested to see which substances you’re
allergic to we can administer a course of immunotherapy (allergy shots),
made specifically for you, to build up your resistance to whatever substances
cause your seasonal allergy symptoms,” Dr. Parker says. “Patients
will be taught to give themselves their own allergy shots at home so that
they do not have to come to the office weekly for injections as required
by some offices in the area. In addition, this treatment is performed
by a primary care office, so there is no specialty copayment required.”
4. Do the little things.
To complement your medical approach to allergies, there are many things
you can do within your lifestyle to help make treatments more successful
during high season.
- Vacuum often - including floors, furniture and rugs - with a HEPA filter
vacuum, if possible;
- Change your air exchange filters (A/C and/or heat) and use higher grade filters;
- Change clothes when you arrive home; pollen sticks to fabric;
- Plan your outdoor activities during times of lowest pollen - many weather
sources provide pollen levels on an hourly basis.
Do you suffer from allergies? It's time for you to find relief! For
questions regarding the potential benefits of allergy testing and immunotherapy
or to make an appointment with a provider at
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Viewmont call 828.324.1699.
Need a location that is closer to you? We've got you covered! Of note,
this service is available at
Catawba Valley Medical Group practices as well. Visit us
online to find a convenient location for you.