WILLIAMSON – Experts are advising 2016 could be an exceptionally bad spring allergy season and people who suffer from seasonal allergies need to be prepared. With the unusual up-and-down weather patterns across the country all winter, there is likely to be a ‘pollen superburst’ as temperatures start to warm.
“It’s important to manage allergy symptoms early, before the effects take a toll on overall quality of life,” said Cherri Hatfield, PA-C, Family Medicine. “Left untreated, seasonal allergies can cause sinus swelling leading to chronic sinusitis. Your digestive tract can also suffer – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is often a direct effect of the body’s allergic response.”
While Americans spend nearly $2 billion each year on over-the-counter allergy remedies, many feel their in managing symptoms is minimal. There are also potential risks to self-medicating, as some over the counter medications can interfere or interact poorly with other medications the patient is taking. If you suffer from more than just the occasional sneezing fit or itchy eyes, it’s best to schedule time with your primary care physician ahead of allergy season to map out a plan.
“There are many different types of environmental allergies, including the most common: pollen, grass, ragweed and mold,” says Hatfield. “There are also a variety of potential symptoms, with each allergen affecting each person differently. Working with your doctor to determine WHAT you are allergic to and HOW to best manage your unique symptoms should reduce your suffering dramatically.”
A variety of diagnostic tools help physicians narrow in on the specific cause of allergies, including skin tests, journal tracking, and blood tests. Your physician can then focus on developing the most appropriate treatment path, based on your age, health, and type and severity of symptoms. Options may include a combination of antihistamines, decongestants, nasal steroid or cromolyn sodium sprays, eye drops, sublingual tablets or allergy shots.
Timing is also important. Experts agree that you should begin applying appropriate allergy medications and remedies at least one to two weeks prior to the start of allergy season, and continue with the protocol throughout the season. It’s much more difficult to halt allergy symptoms once they’ve started.
If you do not have a dedicated primary care physician, visit or call the Gilbert Health Center, Cherri Hatfield, PA-C, Main Street, Gilbert, W. Va. or call their office at 304-664-8924.
Williamson Memorial hospital is directly and indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.