What You Should Know About Allergies
Sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, a runny nose and having an itchy nose or throat are all common symptoms of allergies.
You can have seasonal allergies, meaning that you only have allergy symptoms at certain times of the year. In this case, you might be allergic to trees, grass, ragweed and various types of pollen. In the northeast, allergy sufferers may struggle in the spring when the trees bloom and grass begins to grow. In the fall, there is a high concentration of ragweed.
You can also have perennial allergies. This means you must deal with allergy symptoms throughout the year – not just in the fall or spring, and you might be allergic to dust mites, pets or different types of mold.
Note: It's possible to have both seasonal and perennial allergies.
Antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, antihistamine nasal sprays and decongestants can be used to treat allergies. When medications do not control the symptoms, or if you have allergy symptoms throughout the year, you will likely be given an allergy test, which can be a blood test or a skin prick (scratch) test. An allergy test can tell you what you are allergic to and how allergic or sensitive you are to that substance.
Based on the results of an allergy test, “allergy shots,” or immunotherapy, might be recommended. Immunotherapy can both treat allergy symptoms and cure them over time.
Can you outgrow allergies?
Dr. Mark D’Agostino, Middlesex Health’s chief of Otolaryngology, says what you are allergic to can change throughout your life. Sometimes, childhood allergies can even disappear for reasons that are medically unclear. Similarly, he says older adults who have never had allergies can develop them later in life.
Because of this, sometimes you may need to get retested to see if your allergies have changed. If they go away, great!
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