Fall Season Allergies
By: Dr. Latif Dharamsi
Itching, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion – all can be warning signs of seasonal allergies. Allergies come in many flavors with seasonal and perennial allergies being the most common. One common misconception is that allergies only occur during the spring. Unfortunately, this annoying condition commonly affects individuals during the fall as well and can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life.
So why do allergies occur? In order for human beings to survive, we have evolved an immunological response to help defend us against pathogens (e.g. viruses and bacteria). Unfortunately, sometimes our immune system can erroneously identify a “benign” substance as a threat causing a toned-down or rarely a life-threatening allergic response.
Fall allergies are just as prevalent as those in the spring, and recognizing this is important. Common fall time offenders are weed pollens, namely the ragweed in Georgia. Other times, one may be experiencing a response to a perennial allergen. These include dust mites, indoor molds, cockroaches, and animal dander.
If you have fall-time allergies, the best remedy is to avoid the allergen. Oftentimes, this is easier said than done. To minimize your ragweed exposure you can (1) keep the doors and windows in the car and house closed, (2) use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, (3) change your clothes and shower after working outdoors for prolonged periods of time, and (4) rinse your nose with over-the-counter nasal saline to reduce your allergen load.
In the event that none of the above conservative measures work for you, there are common treatments that your primary care physician and ENT physician can provide including allergy testing, nasal/oral antihistamines and steroids, immunotherapy, and surgery. Many times the key to treating your allergies involves a multifaceted approach and persistence on the part of you and your doctor. The physicians at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center specialize in providing complete allergy testing and the medical management of seasonal and year-round allergies. Our treatments include the latest in state of the art technologies, including:
- Subcutaneous Immunotherapy
- Sublingual Immunotherapy
Sublingual Immunotherapy is a painless, convenient treatment that can permanently reverse symptoms within three years. Administered at home, drops are a convenient cost effective alternative as it prevents patients from having to schedule weekly appointments and endure painful shots.