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Getting Relief from Allergies (Video Transcript)

Respiratory allergies and hay fever are some of the most common conditions in the U.S., and upwards of 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children report dealing with prolonged periods of sneezing and congestion every year.

Allergies are the result of the body overreacting to tiny inhaled particles like tree pollen or dust. When these substances enter the body, the immune system identifies them as dangerous invaders and releases chemicals that can cause inflammation or irritation to the nose, throat, and eyes.

There are generally two types of respiratory allergies:

1. Seasonal allergies occur in the spring, summer, or fall as different trees, plants, or grasses release pollen into the air.

2. Perennial or year-round allergies can occur at anytime and are caused by a variety of things, including poor air quality, pets, insects, or mold spores.

The first step to getting your allergy symptoms under control is identifying the substance, or allergen, that’s causing the symptoms. An allergist or immunologist can perform a skin or blood test to determine the cause of your respiratory allergies. Once the cause has been identified, it’s important to try and avoid exposure. This may mean limiting the amount of time you spend outdoors or avoiding contact with pets.

There are also a number of common over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help control symptoms:

1. Decongestants offer quick, temporary relief from nasal and sinus congestion.

2. Antihistamines work by blocking the effect of certain chemicals in the body and are helpful at preventing swelling, running nose and itchy or watery eyes. These medications generally work best as a preventative measure before you come into contact with a particular allergen.

3. Corticosteroids are another class of medications that help stop the body’s allergic response and are effective at both preventing and relieving a variety of symptoms. For seasonal or year-round allergies, these medications are usually prescribed as an inhaled nasal spray and generally have few side effects.

If you’d like to learn more about treating allergies or hay fever, take a look at the information we have here at Healthline or make an appointment with your doctor.