Ask the Doctor: Fighting Fall Allergies

Rev Steve Heather KOLR

The kids return to school this month, temperatures will start to drop slowly and the leaves will change.  The fall allergy season also kicks in.

In our medical coverage this morning, Mercy Dr. Barbara Bumberry joins us this morning to tell us about fall allergies. 

* Fifth most common chronic disease in the US.
* Affects about 1 in 6 Americans (17%)
* Typical symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, irritated eyes.
* Definitive diagnosis is made with skin testing or blood tests.
* Often associated with asthma or eczema.

Environmental Controls:
* Keeping pets out of the bedroom and off carpeting and upholstered furniture.
* Hardwood floors are better than carpeting.
* Keeping the windows shut.
* Limit time outside when pollen or mold counts are high.
* Vinyl covers on pillows and mattresses and wash sheets every 2 weeks in hot water.
* Fix water leaks, use a dehumidifier in the basement to decrease moisture.

* Steroid nasal sprays (Flonase, Rhinocort, Nasacort) are recommended first line.
* Non-sedating antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra) or Zyrtec; Azelastine nasal spray.
* Decongestants (Sudafed, Afrin).
* Leukotriene inhibitors (Singulair).

* Allergy shots – Usually takes 3-5 years. Can last up to 12 years.
* Allergy drops – placed under the tongue. Only for grass and weed allergies. Can be expensive. Doesn’t have to be given in a medical office.

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