Another harsh New England winter has thankfully come to an end. As the colder time of year comes to a close, allergy season is right around the corner. Itchy and watery eyes, runny noses, coughing and sneezing, and pollen make for a difficult few months for many as we all try to enjoy the outdoors and warmer weather.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. In order to prepare for seasonal allergies, CHA ENT physician Ayesha Khalid, MD, FACS and Jaime Silva, PA-C, at CHA Cambridge Hospital, provide an update on what to expect this season by answering several common questions.
Are allergies the same for everyone?
People’s pollen allergies can vary between seasons. However, some allergies can last throughout the year if they are allergic to dust mites, animal dander, and molds.
What is the difference between allergies and a cold?
Allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, and nose are triggered by histamine. A cold is a viral infection.
How are allergies treated?
Allergies are usually treated with medications known as antihistamines. Some symptoms can be treated with nasal steroids or pseudoephedrine. If allergy symptoms are not well controlled with medication or if symptoms last throughout the year allergy shots or allergy drops can be considered.
What other strategies can people use?
Studies show effective measures of controlling dust or pet dander allergy symptoms include eliminating carpets and rugs in the bedroom, dust covers for pillow cases, and a HEPA filter near the bed.
What else can people do to survive allergy season? Are there home remedies?
Rinsing the allergens out of your nasal passages and sinuses with a saline rinse that can be purchased over the counter can be helpful. This also helps moisturize your nasal passages if you are using a nasal spray for allergies.
If your symptoms tend to be harsh or worsen please consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor today. Also, here are a few additional resources provided by the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services.
About Cambridge Health Alliance
Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine. For more information, visit www.challiance.org.