Welcome to allergy season – a time in which pollen takes over and your nose runs more than you.
We sat down with Dr. Bassem Chahine, an allergist and clinical Immunologist in Miami, Florida to get his insights and advice on how to treat and prevent allergies this season.
Q: What is the difference between seasonal allergies and a common cold? How can you tell the difference? A: The two illnesses may be indistinguishable, but the key is to focus on the duration or the reoccurrence of the symptoms to help spot the difference. When you experience a cold, the symptoms normally develop and pass quickly; whereas when you have allergies, they are generally persistent and recurrent. It is common to confuse the two, however if you find that the symptoms are persistent, you likely are experiencing allergies.
Q: What are the common symptoms of allergies? A: People who develop seasonal allergies may experience some of the following symptoms:
• irritated and itchy eyes
• nasal congestion
• runny nose
• postnasal drip
• hay fever
Q: What things are most likely to cause seasonal allergies? How can they be avoided? A: The most common cause of seasonal allergies is pollen from plants. While it is hard to escape these triggers, it would be helpful to keep your windows closed, frequently change your air filters and use nasal filters. Keeping your windows closed prevents outdoor allergens from entering your home.
Q: What are the best ways to deal with seasonal allergies? A: Avoidance is always the number one way to deal with allergies. However, if you can’t avoid them, the best way to treat them is with medication in the times of crises. For a permanent cure, I recommend allergy desensitization shots.
Q: How can I make my home an allergy free zone? A: Some ways you can reduce allergens in your home are:
• keeping your windows closed
• using an air purifier
• changing your air filters
• getting rid of carpet
Q: What natural ways can I treat or prevent allergies? A: Under the instruction of a physician, a neti pot or nasal clearing solution can be used. These remedies help with restoring moisture and cleansing your nasal passages of allergens and thick mucus. The neti pot is a natural and effective way to flush out your sinuses and relieve your congestion.
Q: When should I see a doctor? A: You should make an appointment with your Allergist/Immunologist if symptoms are persistent and go beyond the natural course of an illness. They can help you identify what is causing your symptoms and will help you find a treatment plan that works for you.
Bassem Chahine, MD is board certified allergist and clinical immunologist at the Allergy and Immunology Center in Miami, Florida. He has been practicing in Miami since 2010 and has been successfully treating a variety of conditions that include asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities, cough, eczema, and many more. To find out more information about Dr. Chahine, visit his profile page here.