Local News

Learn To Enjoy Spring Despite Having Allergies

Posted May 9, 2005 2:10 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh usually ranks high in quality of living studies, but a new, less desirable ranking from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation shows Raleigh is 13th worst among U.S. cities for spring allergies. However, there are ways to enjoy the season.

For the first several weeks of spring, Laura Wilson would not dare take her son, Connor, to the park. He was sneezing, coughing and congested.

"The doctor said, let's see if we can get a grip on this and we did a pretty aggressive allergy treatment, and we also had to decide and rule out if it might be some asthma," Wilson said.

They found Connor was allergic to spring pollens. Prescribed medicine taken on a regular basis helped Connor. Many allergy sufferers need skin-prick testing and allergy shots.

But more than half of spring allergy sufferers respond well to over-the-counter medications like Alavert, Benadryl and Claritin or the prescription medications: Allegra, Zyrtec and Clarinex.

Some symptoms can be avoided without medicine. The first rule of therapy means staying out of the pollen, which means rolling up your car windows. When you come indoors, the pollen hitches a ride, so you want to change your clothing and shower off.

The biggest problem this time of year and since February is tree pollen, specifically pecan, oak and maple. In June, problems with grass pollen tend to pop up. To protect yourself, have some sort of barrier like a mask, which you can find at drug stores or garden variety stores.

When buying over-the-counter allergy medicine for the first time, ask a doctor or pharmacist for assistance. Many medications include decongestants which you may not need.