COLUMBUS, Ohio — The key to controlling your spring allergies is to get ahead of them. Medical experts point to the already rising tree pollen counts a proof you should start getting ready now.
Dr. Kara Wada, an allergy and immunology expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said if you wait for winter’s end, it is too late.
“It's so much easier to keep the horses in the barn to keep inflammation under control, rather than trying to make up for it after your symptoms are really flared up,” she said.
Dr. Wada suggested a three-pronged strategy to address allergies by minimizing your exposure to allergens.
- You could talk with your health care provider about allergy testing to know for sure what to avoid.
- A second element in the strategy is to use long acting, less sedating antihistamines.
- Immunotherapy is the third element of Dr. Wada’s three-pronged approach.
“We're essentially giving patients a customized formulation of what they are allergic to in small but increasing amounts to over time shift immune response from fighting those pollens, dust mite pet dander, to ignoring them," she said.
A word about nasal spray medications, which many people find helpful to ease stuffiness. Technique is critical to using them effectively, start by pointing your nose toward your toes. The goal is to have the extra medicine come out the front rather than going down the back of our throat. “We want to point the nozzle towards our ear on the same side,” Dr. Wada advised. “The tissues we're actually aiming to hit are closer to our cheeks, not the middle of our nose.”