Fall Brings More Seasonal Allergies to North Carolina
Pollen from grass and weeds can impact allergy sufferers through the summer and into the fall. Ragweed is one of the biggest pollen producers in the region. While ragweed tends to affect rural areas the most, its pollen can travel hundreds of miles just on wind currents. Ragweed often peaks in September, but it and other grasses and weeds will produce pollen until the first frost. In the Charlotte region, that can be as late as November.
Mold allergies are very common in autumn. Mold spores are everywhere but are especially common in the fall and winter months when outdoor molds grow on decaying leaves and other organic matter. Like pollen, these spores are also airborne and can be carried by the wind.
Do You Have Autumn Allergies?
If the changing of the season has caused any of the following symptoms, you may have seasonal allergies:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Coughing or wheezing
If you have symptoms of seasonal allergies more than once a year or symptoms are severe enough to affect your ability to enjoy work or your daily activities, you should see a doctor for evaluation. The otolaryngologists of CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat help patients every day who suffer from ongoing allergy, nasal, and sinus symptoms. Our specialists can diagnose the problem or determine if additional testing, like an on-site allergy test or CT scan, is necessary.
It’s possible your symptoms are the result of a sinus infection or another sinus issue. Once those possibilities are ruled out, allergy testing can identify the specific allergens responsible for your symptoms. Once these allergens are identified, you can decide on the best approach for treating your allergies.
Treating Seasonal Allergies
After you determine which allergens are causing your symptoms, then what do you do? You can try to avoid those allergens as much as possible, but that often means staying indoors. This is not a practical solution for most people. What about medication?
Antihistamines can help reduce allergy symptoms, but they’re not a cure for allergies. These medications work by blocking the effects of histamine, which is released when an allergen enters your body. Histamine can cause sneezing and runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, watery eyes, and itching inside your nose or throat. The biggest drawback of taking antihistamines is that these medications can make you feel drowsy or cause dryness of other mucus membranes.
For long-term allergy relief, many people choose immunotherapy. With immunotherapy, a patient is administered gradually increasing doses of the offending allergens much like a vaccine against the things you are allergic to. With this incremental increase, the immune system becomes more tolerant of the allergen, and allergy symptoms lessen or even disappear. Immunotherapy effectively makes you “less allergic.”
People usually think of immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots. This method is effective, but for many people, it is not an option due to a fear of needles or a lack of time necessary to travel to a doctor’s office for a weekly injection. Fortunately, allergy drops are a safe, effective, and proven alternative to allergy shots.
Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy that works on the same premise as allergy shots, but instead of weekly injections with a needle, a patient places drops under the tongue daily at home.
CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat performs allergy testing and was the first in the region to offer allergy drops as a less stressful, more convenient alternative to traditional allergy shots.
Overcome Autumn Allergies
The changing seasons deliver new challenges for those of us with environmental allergies. The first step is identifying the cause of your misery so you can spring back and enjoy the Carolinas all year long! To learn more or schedule an appointment with CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat, call 704-752-7575.