CLEVELAND – The fact that many of us are still donning our winter hats and scarves may make it seem like warm weather is light-years away.
But according to Cleveland Clinic allergist, Sandra Hong, M.D., if you’re one of the more than 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies each year, now is the time to take action to combat them.
“I would actually get prepared right now,” said Dr. Hong. “We’re about to head into pollen season, and this time of the year brings tree allergies. So, once you start seeing the buds on the trees, it’s happening out there.”
Dr. Hong said people who suffer from tree and grass allergies will typically have symptoms similar to the common cold, but those symptoms don’t disappear like a normal cold would.
Itchy eyes, throat and ears are signs of allergy symptoms, especially if they happen at the same time every year.
Allergies can leave some people so miserable that they feel less productive at school and work or find themselves unable to take part in activities.
To treat symptoms, there are a number of over-the-counter solutions that can help, such as saline sprays, nasal steroids, and antihistamines.
For those who really struggle with grass allergy symptoms during the summer, Dr. Hong suggests visiting an allergist now to see if oral immunotherapy tablets are right for you.
The tablets should be taken three months before grass allergy season hits, and then continued throughout the summer.
And with spring just around the corner, Dr. Hong recommends keeping an eye out for when the pollen begins to fly.
“Once we get into the pollen time, it’s all about protection,” she said. “At that point in time, it might still be cool out, but we still ask you to keep your windows closed, so that you can keep the pollens outside. In addition to doing that, run the air conditioning or the heat in your car to recirculate the air.”