Office Of Public Affairs

Surviving Allergy Season

May 18, 2009 9:00 AM

Spring is in the air. So are airborne allergens from grass to weed to tree pollens. This means your allergy symptoms—itchy, watery eyes, and a stuffy nose—are here to stay for the next eight to nine months. In Utah, the allergy season begins in mid-March and lasts through the first frost in October or November.

Some of the most common seasonal allergens are grass, tree, and weed pollens. Other allergens such as pet dander, dust mite, and rodents can cause symptoms yearround. If you’re among the 25 percent of the U.S. population affected by allergies, there are three things you can do to provide much-needed relief this season, according to Gerald Gleich, M.D., allergist and research professor of dermatology.

  • Take preventative measures. This usually means avoiding the allergen, which is
    useful for pet dander, but difficult for seasonal allergies. Keeping windows closed,
    washing your face and hands after being outdoors, or even changing clothes to remove
    pollen can help.
  • Medications. Antihistamines and decongestants, such as Claritin and Zyrtec, are very
    effective for relieving symptoms. If you prefer to use steroid or non-steroid medications,
    such as nasal sprays, begin taking them before the allergy season begins because
    they aid in blocking allergens from causing symptoms.
  • Allergy vaccines, or allergy shots, are 80 percent effective and are also beneficial for
    allergy-related asthma.

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