By Catherine Schnepp, MSN, cFNP:
Spring is here at last! For some allergy sufferers this is not a welcome season. It is estimated that 20% of the population has allergic disease which may include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, eczema, and food allergy. An allergy is a sensitivity to plants, animal dander, foods, or other environmental substances such as dust mites. Allergies can occur at any age, and half of the people suffering allergies will develop them before age 20. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes and burning and itching in the throat. Asthma symptoms include cough, wheeze, shortness of breath or chest tightness. Allergy sufferers usually start symptoms in February with trees; March brings grasses; Weeds continue until the steamy summer temperatures arrive in June or July.
There is help for allergy sufferers! Avoidance through environmental control can be helpful. There are also medications such as oral anti-histamines, topical nasal sprays and inhaled asthma medication that can relieve and control allergic symptoms.
Treatment options can also include immunotherapy with injections or sublingual (under the tongue) drops. Good news is that effective treatment options are available. Allergy patients need not suffer through their symptoms and miss out on the outdoor activities that spring brings! Make an appointment with your healthcare specialist today for allergy evaluation/testing and treatment.
For more information Ms. Schnepp can be reached at Sacramento ENT, 111 Exposition Blvd., Bldg. 700 in Sacramento, or call (916) 736-6677.