By Kelly Twedell
While spring brings in the longer days, warmer weather and beautiful blooms, for many the seasonal changes bring on dreaded allergies. From itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion, nobody can escape the annual influx of pollen during unpredictable weather patterns.
Pollen allergy can mainly manifest as upper respiratory allergy (allergic rhinitis or hay fever) and/or lower respiratory allergy (asthma). Although pollen allergy is one of the most common medical conditions and with a wide selection of over-the-counter medications and home remedies, one can still enjoy the outdoors.
Allergist and past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), Dr. Stanley M. Fineman believes that when a patient is exposed to pollen and then re-exposed later after drastic weather changes, allergic reactions are more significant because the immune system is primed to respond.
Dr. Ana MacDowell at Allergy Partners of Fayetteville shared, “despite the arsenal of modern medicine some people still have symptoms. In these cases treatment with immunotherapy (IT), commonly known as allergy shots, is a good choice because it changes the way a person’s immune system interacts with the environment making them more tolerant to their specific allergens.
In order for the colorful blooms of spring to thrive, they need the symbiotic relationship that bees bring, though a small percentage of children and adults suffer from potentially life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by bee stings.
“Bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants are the main culprits for insect stings potentially leading to a severe life-threatening allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. If a person has a history of severe allergic reaction to an insect sting, he/she can undergo an evaluation by an allergist with skin testing to these insect venoms. Insect venom injections (also known as venom immunotherapy) can be prescribed by an allergist and it is a highly effective treatment for this life-threatening condition,” said Dr. Colin Freccia of Allergy Partners of Fayetteville.
Those with insect allergies often carry a self-injectable EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector to be prepared. A more long-term approach is immunotherapy treatment through standardized insect injections.
While it’s impossible to escape the blanket of pollen that we wake up to, there are many at home remedies for seasonal allergies and plenty of over the counter products. If you really desire more relief you might want to consider getting an allergy panel of shots to determine what affects you most.