Warm weather awakens allergies

Warm weather awakens allergies

As the weather gets warmer across the Chicagoland area and the U.S., we are seeing the first alerts for heightened pollen counts. 

Though most are relieved for this sign that spring is really here, for allergy sufferers it means shifting to defense mode. 

Allergist Dr. Michael Radtke with Dreyer Medical Clinic in West Aurora, Ill., gives the run down on what over the counter medications can help keep you going through the pollen season: 

  • Antihistamines:  The mainstay of allergy treatment, good for itching, sneezing, runny nose, tearing/red eyes, and post-nasal drip. However, they do not address congestion, he says. Antihistamines can make you very sleepy, so your ability to drive and perform other activities can be impaired.
  • Decongestants: These reduce congestion and drainage, but they are poor at addressing itching and sneezing. They can cause a person’s blood pressure to go up.
  • Nasacort: This is a new player in the over the counter market, actually reducing the inflammation at the root of the problem. There are other nasal sprays out there that are actually dangerous to use for more than a few days in a row, but this one is not. Nasacort does occasionally dry the nasal lining. Anyone using it regularly should have a doctor periodically examine the nose.
  • Eye drops:  Many over the counter eye drops should only be used for a few days at most. These have few if any side effects, but they can stain contact lenses.

“The primary principal of allergy is avoidance, though,” Dr.Radtke says. “Allergy sufferers should consider seeing their doctor to discuss testing, especially when over the counter medications fail to work.” 

Dr. Radtke also recommends visiting the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) website to check local pollen counts, and even sign up for regular email updates.

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One Comment

  1. While I love the spring weather, I do have awful allergies and agree with the avoidance strategy!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.