Dr. Bob Arnot discusses allergies and treatment options.
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Dr. Barnott: I am Dr. Barnott. You can like a lot of people. You may think that allergies are problem to kids have and they out grow in adolescents. Maybe a surprise to learn though that there are 30 Million adults who have allergies and those are just the ones who know about it. Now, I cannot tell you how many adults that I see every winter and spring, which is basically cough, sneeze, stuffy nose, and feeling miserable. They think they just got a cold that goes on too long, but what they really have are allergies. There is great news, every year there are more and more terrific allergy medications and they really help. The trouble is, you have to know what kind of allergy you have to know what kind of medication to take. Here is a simple guide. (Music Playing) Female: So, how can you tell the difference between an allergy and a cold? First of all, with an allergy usually you do not have an itchy nose, in addition stuffiness. Your eyes will usually itched too and you may have a lot tearing. Your throat will really be more scratchy than sore and your nose will be running all the time with a lot of thin clear mucus. Almost like egg whites. If this describes your symptoms, you want to move down the pharmacy isle from the decongestants to the antihistamines. For a lot of people, the newer over-the-counter antihistamines like Claritin is doing a great job of easing allergy symptoms with much less drowsiness than some of the older brands. The one exception is if you have asthma in which case you should only use an antihistamine under the care of your healthcare provider. If the over-the-counter antihistamines do not do the trick though, you should come in and see us so we can prescribe a prescription strength antihistamine such as Allegra, or Zyrtec, or even a steroidal nose spray like Flonase or Nasonex to help ease the inflammation and congestion and maybe even some prescription eye drops to help ease the itching in your eyes. All allergy suffers need to drink plenty of fluids. People who has problems seem to be more from irritants like pollen or rag weed should try to stay inside as much as possible when levels are high. Change of a clothes after being outdoors and wash their hands frequently. If dust is a culprit, it is important to vacuum your mattress and put your pillows through the drier every single week. If you are still suffering, you may need to even talk to your allergist about starting allergy shots and if you are having headaches, colored mucus or pain in your face. You need to see your healthcare provider. They maybe signs of a possible sinus infection, which unfortunately are more common in allergy suffers. (Music Playing)