The trees are beginning to pollinate and many Nebraskans will soon be wrestling with allergy symptoms like sneezing, stuffy noses and watery eyes.
Allergist Dr. Jill Poole, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, says allergy sufferers need to start defending themselves.
“This is the time of year when the trees start and so this is the exact time for them to get their allergy medications out of the cabinet and start their nose sprays and antihistamines to try to fend off the allergy symptoms before they get behind the eight ball,” Dr. Poole says.
Our bodies change as we age and some people who’ve never had pollen allergies are suddenly finding themselves in sad shape. You can also grow out of the symptoms. Poole says it’s relatively easy to recognize if you have allergies.
“If you’re having the classic symptoms of the itchy nose, the sneezing, the itchy, watery eyes that start in March and get real bad in April, that’s really indicative of allergies,” Poole says. “You can start taking over-the-counter medications and if those don’t hold you or they don’t work well for you, that’s the time to get allergy tested.”
One complaint among some allergy sufferers is that the medication makes them sleepy. Poole says there are other options.
“You may want to start at a little half dose of the medication for a week or two and let your body adjust and then you can go to a higher dosing,” she says. “If you still get drowsy on the anti-histamines, which some people do, then you need to go to the nasal sprays versus the pills.”
Known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, allergies are a reaction by the body’s immune system to a normally-harmless substance. In the springtime, as well as summer and fall, tiny pollen grains are released from trees, weeds and grasses into the air.
Between 20 and 40% of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.