Ah, Ah, Achoo! All about Allergies
If you are an allergy sufferer, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, about half of the U. S. population suffers from allergies. These negative reactions occur as a result of coming in contact with normally harmless substances. Often, allergy symptoms go unrecognized and are mistaken for a cold or flu. The symptoms include: sneezing; red, itchy and watery eyes; dry throat; and stuffy nose. Some allergies change or disappear over time, while seasonal attacks will return at the same time each year for only a few weeks or months.
Though allergies can affect anyone, individuals with the following characteristics are afflicted more often:
- Under 40 years old
- Have at least one parent with allergies
- Suffer from allergic conditions such as asthma
Prevention and Treatment Options
To alleviate allergy symptoms, consider the following recommendations:
- Stay indoors when the pollen count outside is high.
- Keep your home clean and as dust-free as possible.
- Consider purchasing a home air cleaner.
- Place pillows, mattresses and duvets in allergen-proof encasements.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with double bags, allergen-trapping bags or a HEPA filter.
- Avoid having pets or going near others’ pets if you have animal allergies.
- In your home, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting, which tends to lock in dust more easily.
Treatment for most allergies is available over-the-counter or by prescription. If your symptoms are more severe or chronic, allergy shots may be necessary. Contact your family physician to determine which mode of treatment is best suited for your symptoms.
Sometimes allergies are mistaken for the common cold or flu. If your symptoms do not go away after a few days of over-the-counter treatment and rest, consult your doctor for potential allergy treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.