Are you suffering from itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing?  You’re not alone!  Seasonal allergies affect millions of people each year, making the beautiful spring season a time of misery. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most common seasonal allergy, and is caused by the immune system overreacting to inhaled pollen from plants and trees. Symptoms are similar to the common cold – sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy, watery eyes. While allergies are rarely life-threatening, they do cause lost work days, decreased productivity, poor performance at school, and a lower quality of life.

There are treatments which can help with some of the symptoms. Often, antihistamines are used to treat allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. (Older antihistamines, however, can cause significant drowsiness.) Other ways that allergies are treated are by minimizing exposure to pollen, showering frequently (to wash off any pollen), using saline nasal sprays, decongestant sprays or steroid sprays, and desensitization with allergy shots.

Local and national pollen count information is available at www.pollen.com. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you might consider staying inside on days when the pollen count is at its highest.

If allergy symptoms do not improve, and sinus pain and pressure persist despite treatment, a physician may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses. A CT scan will show whether the symptoms of pain and pressure are actually coming from an infection or something else, and will also show if there are any anatomical causes for the sinuses to be blocked. Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology offers CT at nine of our locations.

How has this allergy season been treating YOU? Is it better or worse than previous years? Let us know in the comments!