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Morning Rounds: The spring allergy season is here

Posted at 11:11 AM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 11:11:14-05

NORFOLK, Va. – If you think you’re sneezing and sniffling from spring allergies earlier than usual, you are not alone. Medical experts say the spring allergy season has already started.

“A good rule of thumb is that when the daffodils start to bloom, the spring allergy season is here,’ said News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light. “Fall allergies are still around due to the mild winter. This mild weather has contributed to a bad allergy season.”

Dr. Light said allergy and cold symptoms are similar, but there are some key differences.

“Allergies commonly cause runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes, and sinus or ear pain,” said Dr. Light. “Allergies do not cause fever or body ache. Colds usually last between seven to fourteen days and are often accompanied by body aches and fever. Allergies typically continue through the entire seasonal exposure period.”

Dr. Light said there are some lesser known allergy symptoms.

“Some of the lesser known symptoms are sore throat, cough, hoarseness, poor sleep, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating,” he explained.

There are ways to decrease the severity of spring allergies, Dr. Light pointed out.

“Starting over the counter antihistamines early decreases allergies,” he explained. “These medications include Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Xyzal.”

He also said nasal congestion and sinus pressure can be treated with a nasal steroid. Nasal steroids have the benefit of not causing drowsiness because they work at the site of inflammation and not systemically.

“To help with sleep and your allergies you can also use Benadryl at night. Benadryl is the most potent antihistamine available over the counter,” he said.

If you are looking for a natural remedy, Dr. Light said there are options, like wearing masks outdoors.

“The best option is to avoid the allergen by keeping windows closed in the spring or fall during high pollen counts,” he said.

“One alternative is local honey, which contains small amounts of pollen, and has been proven to help reduce symptoms by desensitizing allergic reactions,” he revealed.

“Nasal lavage, with saline rinses, removes the allergens by a flushing action and helps to lower allergy symptoms,” he further explained. “Neti pots, nasal saline sprays, and drops work by physically removing allergens from the nasal passages and sinuses, preventing an allergic reaction