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Healthbeat 4: Spring allergy season

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Dakota Dunes, South Dakota (KTIV) -- Buds are showing up on the trees, flowers are blooming, weeds are growing and we are sneezing a lot. It's Spring allergy season.

Although it's a beautiful time year, it's not so pretty when you're constantly suffering from watery eyes, congestion, a runny and itchy nose, an itchy throat, and lots of sneezing.

"Every year at this time, it's Spring trees and grasses. It's the pollens that actually get us. When you think of flowering plants, those that require insects, those pollens are much heavier. And so they don't tend to get into the air, but trees, grasses in the Spring. That is what hits us, especially if it's purely seasonal or intermittent allergies, as opposed to year-long allergies, dust mites, mold, dander things like that in the home," said Dr. Reason Ford, Ear Nose & Throat Consultants.

Dr. Reason Ford with Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, says it could be a rough allergy season because it's getting warmer a lot sooner, it's been raining, and there's farming going on around us.

When the symptoms act up, here's what he recommends:

"Tried and true over the counter medications such as our antihistamines. They've been around forever. They're safe even for young kids. You can get another topical nasal steroid as well. Also, some of them are over the counter as well. The important thing to differentiate between those is the antihistamines such as Claritin and Zyrtec can be taken as needed. If you use a topical nasal steroid, you must use it daily," said Dr. Ford.

Dr. Ford calls those solutions the work horses for managing allergies. If they don't work, you can see him or other allergy specialists for testing and other remedies.

Now, there's another solution. "We now offer sublingual immunotherapy. It is exactly the same process in the sense of providing an antigen to your body so that you recognize these antigens are allergens in your body just isn't responding to them any more," said Dr. Ford.

Suffering through your allergies isn't the only way to go, according to this specialist. There's hope through managing your allergies.

Dr. Ford says we need to go back to the basics to be reminded of the differences between allergy symptoms and those associated with COVID-19.

Allergies usually don't include a fever. That fever, a headache, achiness, congestion and a cough can be indicators of COVID-19.

Itchy and watery eyes, an itchy and runny nose, and sneezing, are classic allergy symptoms.

As always, if you are immunocompromised or have concerns, don't hesitate to see a doctor and get tested.

Stella Daskalakis

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