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Monday, January 22, 2018

VT Carilion Expert Offers Advice to Cope With Symptoms as Allergy Season Arrives

As the weather gets warmer, many people will experience symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Laura Dziadzio, a Carilion Clinic pediatric allergist and assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, is available to discuss treating symptoms.

“Springtime is the worst allergy season for many people because at the start of spring, trees pollinate,” she said. “We will begin to notice pollen on cars and floating through the air, which is a marker for the microscopic pollen which causes the allergy.”

As a pediatric allergist, Dziadzio said she encourages people to get out and be active, discouraging patients from staying inside when the weather is finally warm again. She said there are medications that can help control symptoms:

  • Antihistamines can help with itching and sneezing;
  • Nasal steroids, which work best if used regularly, can help with nasal congestion and a runny nose;
  • Antihistamine eye drops can minimize itchy, red, watery eyes;
  • Nasal saline spray can help wash away pollen that may be triggering symptoms.

If over-the-counter medication is insufficient:

Though many medications are now over-the-counter, Dziadzio said if they do not adequately control symptoms, or patients experience side effects, she recommends speaking with your healthcare provider.

Patients may also benefit from allergy testing, prescription medications, or immunotherapy, she said.

“Allergy shots also remain an option, and more recently oral immunotherapy for grass and ragweed pollen. Other allergens are undergoing study and potential approval by the FDA for oral immunotherapy as well.”