EUGENE, Ore. – As the weather warms up, allergy season is right around the corner. KEZI 9 News spoke to health professionals to find out how you can prepare for the rising pollen counts.
Dr. Jason Friesen of Oregon Allergy Associates said the best thing to do is know what you’re allergic to and make sure you’re treating that allergy correctly. He said it’s a good idea to head to a local allergist and get tested to find out what it is that’s making you feel so stuffy this time of year.
Friesen said sometimes people find out the symptoms they’ve been treating aren’t even allergy-related.
"Sometimes people are treating symptoms that they're blaming on allergies and in fact is not an allergy that they're trying to treat, so they get frustrated when their allergy medicines don't work,” said Friesen.
Friesen said you should know the difference between when to take an antihistamine and when to take something like a nasal steroid. He said antihistamines are good for itchy, runny, sneezy noses, and work to relieve symptoms quickly. Nasal steroids work better once they’ve built up in your system and they're better for congestion.
For people who have struggled with typical dosage treatment, Friesen mentioned the immunotherapy allergy shot.
"People who have allergies, their immune system thinks that the pollen or whatever they're allergic to is dangerous, and so it's trying to fight it to keep it out of your system,” Friesen said. “Allergy shots try to, in essence, make your immune system bored with the pollen so it doesn't mount any response and doesn't view it as a danger."
He said this shot won’t do much for your symptoms the first year you get it, but it will make a big difference after your second dose the following year.
Naturopathic physician Jeri Otterstrom of the Healing Tree Family Practice provided some treatment options if you’d like to take a more natural approach. She said prevention is key.
She said you should start with removing any inflammation from your body. You can start by cutting things out of your diet that you know you’re sensitive to, and then start drinking lots of water.
"The more hydrated you are, the more that your body can eliminate things that you're sensitive to or process what's coming in,” Otterstrom said.
She also recommends keeping your house a bit cleaner during the allergy season. Change your sheets and vacuum your carpet more often to try and get rid of any allergens that may be hiding in those soft spaces.
If your symptoms still do kick in, Otterstrom said there are a number of supplements you can try. Her favorite is a combination of quercetin with bromelain.
She encouraged people to try the natural path to allergy treatment, especially if they’ve struggled with typical treatment in the past.
"Your body is built to heal itself, and the more we allow it to do that, the healthier we are,” said Otterstrom.