There are ways to avoid the symptoms of the season.
It's not a growing problem but a problem with what's growing. Patients call it hay fever even though there's no hay and no fever. Allergy doctors like Gene France call it Allergic Rhinitis, a fancy medical name for it.
"Sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes," says Dr. France as he runs down the symptoms.
In the spring it's the tree and grass pollens, in the fall it's the weeds. If you've got mold allergies you may need medications year round. Luckily there are good options no matter what's itching you.
"Over the counter remedies are very good. We have a number of antihistamines that were prescription just in the last few years that have gone over the counter," says Dr. France.
Claritin and Zyrtec are two of the most recognized names you can now buy without a prescription. Since Claritin doesn't cause drowsiness it's a good choice to try first.
"Use it in the morning and if that's not doing the trick then I would move to something like Zyrtec in the evening and you could use a combination of those two if you're really have significant symptoms," Dr. France says.
If the symptoms persist, your doctor can prescribe something stronger or he may recommend an allergy test like Nancy Martinsen had. It helped her find out what was making her feel so rotten.
"I had a feeling I was allergic to pollen and so forth, but there were other things I had no idea about," she says.
"She does react to the cat antigen and then this is alternaria mold she's reacting to," Dr. France explains during Nancy's test.
Nancy now gets a weekly shot tailored to her specific allergies.
Remember to think practically too. Irrigate your nose and eyes if you've been outside and watch when you mow the lawn.
"If you're going to do yard work we recommend you do it in the evening. The pollen count is lower in the evening, higher in the morning," he says.
And a reminder about decongestant nose sprays. The more you use them the less and less effective the longer you use them.
"It helps with the congestion, but it doesn't last as long and it wears off quicker. The rebound phenomenon is that the congestion is worse after you use it than before," Dr. France says.
The good news is no matter how bad your allergies are there is a course of treatment that will help.
"I was sick all the time before and now I haven't missed any work this year at all. I've not felt bad really. I just take my shots and my Zyrtec and I'm fine."
So there really is no need to suffer. See a doctor, get some medication and enjoy the season.
Find out more about allergy symptoms and treatment so that you can enjoy the change of the seasons in Arkansas.
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