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As soon as the sniffles of cold season are behind us, we’re faced with the sniffles of allergy season. For many, the Carolinas’ budding trees and green lawns bring discomfort that ranges from mild headaches and itchy eyes to fairly severe respiratory ailments.
Over-the-counter medications can often help you manage allergy symptoms. Talk to your doctor about which medications might be best for you.
Sometimes called "hay fever" or seasonal allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies occur during certain times of the year when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
The immune systems of people who are allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these particles (called allergens) as invaders and release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them. It's the release of these chemicals that causes allergy symptoms, which include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
“Here in the Charlotte area, tree pollination is February through May, grass pollen runs from May through June, and weed pollen is from August through October. So, people with these allergies are likely to have increased symptoms at those times,” said Marina Svecharnik, MD, with Cotswold Family Medicine.
Doctors are diagnosing more and more people with food allergies. An allergic reaction to food can affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and, in the most serious cases, the cardiovascular system. Reactions can range from mild to severe, including the potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis.
Signs of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing; a drop in blood pressure (in which case, the person looks pale, has a weak pulse, shows confusion or loses consciousness); a rash or swollen lips; or gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea or cramping. If you suspect anaphylaxis, get immediate medical attention.
"Creating comprehensive allergy management plans that identify allergic triggers, determine the most effective treatments and prevent allergic reactions is really the goal,” said Dr. Svecharnik.
Talk to your doctor if your child, your spouse or you seem to experience what appears to be a nasty cold at the same time each year. It might just be allergies.
Call 844-881-2180 or complete an online request form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Svecharnik or another primary care provider at Carolinas HealthCare System. Our physicians will partner with you to develop a comprehensive allergy management plan that’s right for you.
Call 884-881-2180 or complete an online request form to find a doctor near you.