Health Aware: Tips for managing allergy season

<p>Dr. Vinayak Dongre is a family medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. | Submitted</p>

Dr. Vinayak Dongre is a family medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. | Submitted

Ah, spring.

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing — and you’re sneezing like crazy.

If you’re male, you’re more likely to identify with that statement.

Being male is one surprising risk factor for seasonal allergies, says Dr. Vinayak Dongre, a family practice physician with Edward Medical Group.

Studies also have found that people who are first-born, people who were born during pollen seasons and infants exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have allergy problems, according to Dongre.

The stuffy nose, sinus pressure and fatigue that accompany seasonal allergies could easily drag you down.

Especially since grass, trees and pollen — the prime causes of springtime allergies — are unavoidable.

Survive the season comfortably by keeping your symptoms in check, Dongre says.

Try over-the-counter antihistamines first. If they’re not working, it would be wise to see a doctor.

A doctor can do skin or blood testing to identify your allergies.

To do this, suspected allergens are introduced to the skin, and if a reaction occurs, then you will be deemed allergic to that substance.

“Sometimes people have symptoms like an allergic reaction, but they’re not caused by allergies,” Dongre says.

There is also a potential link between allergies and asthma that a doctor would be able to diagnose and treat.

Doctors often prescribe an antihistamine along with a nasal steroid spray to combat both the allergic reaction and the physical symptoms.

Doctor’s tips for keeping allergy attacks at bay:

Here are some other steps Dongre says you can take to feel more comfortable during allergy season:

Stay away from pollen-producing flowers

Park your car away from trees

Keep pets outside or bathe them regularly if they’re indoors

Use mattress and pillow covers to avoid dust mites

Dry clothes in a dryer, not outdoors

Bathe and wash your clothing after being outside

Health Aware is a weekly column submitted by Edward Hospital.

About the doctor Dr. Vinayak Dongre is a family medicine physician at Edward Medical Group’s office in Crest Hill, 16151 Weber Road. For more information, visit www.edward.org/VinayakDongre or www.EdwardMedicalGroup.org, or call 815-838-2888.

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