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• More than 23 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.
• Ragweed allergy is a common cause of hay fever.
• Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for allergy sufferers.
West Palm Beach Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers' Dr. Cody Aull discussed possible allergy treatment options when speaking with Okeechobee Times.
"As far as allergy drops or shots go, it takes an extended period of time for you to get a complete resolution of your allergies," Aull said. "The knee-jerk reaction should be three years. If your immune system isn't great, it could go up to five years. So there is a time investment for a complete cure for allergies. But just because there's a time investment, it shouldn't be arduous, as far as the amount of work you have to go through. A lot of that comes with nothing more than drops once a day, but it’s next to your toothbrush, so it’s no big deal. So there isn't necessarily a huge time commitment with allergy shots. There's so many different courses we can use to get to where we need to be with the patient."
More than 23 million U.S. residents suffer from allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as hay fever, and one of the main causes is an allergy to ragweed, according to the Allergy & Asthma Network. Ragweed allergy sufferers feel their symptoms peak in mid-September and last until November.
Ragweed plants and their pollen can be found across the country. Common allergy symptoms include a runny, watery nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and noses, and hives. Additionally, asthma-related hospitalizations spike in mid-September due to asthmatic allergy sufferers experiencing an increase in symptoms if they inhale ragweed pollen.
Allergy sufferers can effectively manage their symptoms by doing the following: Premedicating with a nasal spray or antihistamine, changing clothing and taking a shower after arriving indoors, wearing a mask while outside, keeping windows and doors closed, and monitoring ragweed pollen counts. Those with ragweed allergies should also avoid certain foods botanically related to ragweeds, such as bananas, mangoes, artichokes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelons, sunflower seeds, and zucchini.
According to WebMD, doctors can diagnose allergies by reviewing a patient's symptoms and medical history before recommending either a blood or skin test. During the latter test, the doctor will place a small allergen sample on the patient's forearm or back. If the patient is allergic to the sample, a small, itchy bump will appear.
Following an allergy diagnosis, the doctor could recommend various treatment options depending on your allergies' severity and type, according to Mayo Clinic. Moderate treatments include over-the-counter medications, nasal sprays, allergy shots, and immunotherapy. Those with severe allergies could be recommended to carry an emergency epinephrine shot, such as an EpiPen.
If you're suffering from allergies and are interested in learning about testing and treatment options, take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.