It's Allergy Season!

It's Allergy Season!
Posted on 03/08/2018
h-allergies1Article by Dr. Lisa Engel

Our beautiful Sonoran dessert is about to bloom! While this means baseball spring training, great hiking and spring break from school, it also means allergy season.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is the most common chronic medical condition in the US, affecting about 50 million Americans (about 1 in 5 people in this country). If one parent has allergies, there’s a 25% chance that a child will also be allergic. The risk is more than doubled to 60% to 70% if both parents have allergies.

Here is some information about allergies to help you and your children through the allergy season:

Allergy Symptoms:
Allergies are best described as repeated or chronic cold like symptoms that last more than a week or two, and develop at about the same time every year. These symptoms include runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and itchy or runny eyes

Diagnosing allergies:
Generally, allergies are diagnosed by discussing symptoms, your medical history and a physical exam. If needed, allergy testing (in the form of skin prick testing or blood testing) is done to help determine the specific allergen.

Common Allergens:
Allergens are divided up between indoor allergens and outdoor allergens. Indoor allergens include dust mites, molds, and animal dander. Outdoor allergens are grasses, trees and weeds.

Allergy treatments:
A “cure” to allergies has yet to be discovered, although research continues to make advances and is getting closer. In the meantime, avoidance of allergens remain the mainstay of allergy treatment.
- Pet allergies: Keeping the pet out of the bedroom and frequent bathing can help allergy symptoms.
- Dust mites: Wash linens weekly and other bedding, such as blankets, every 1 to 2 weeks in hot water. Allergen covers of mattresses and pillows may also help.
- Outdoor allergens: Air conditioners can decrease outdoor allergens inside the home. Showering or bathing at the end of the day to remove allergens from body surfaces and hair can also be helpful. Remaining indoors when grass is mowed and avoiding playing in fields of tall grass may be helpful during grass pollen season.

Medication to help treat allergies are often helpful for controlling symptoms.
- Antihistamines, taken by mouth, can help with itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Some types cause drowsiness. Some non-drowsy antihistamines include Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin.
- Nasal corticosteroids are highly effective for allergy symptom control and widely used to stop chronic symptoms. They are safe to use in children over 2 years of age for long periods of time and must be used daily for maximal effectiveness.

Lastly, allergy immunotherapy (known commonly as allergy shots) are often helpful to improve chronic allergy symptoms when avoidance and oral medications alone are not effective.

North Scottsdale Pediatrics

  • Ironwood Office - 9827 N. 95th St. Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Phone: (480)-860-8488
  • Deer Valley Office - 21807 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 Phone: (480)-860-8488

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