Control Your Spring Allergies

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Has spring lost its splendor because you're too busy sneezing and wheezing? We learned how to control spring allergies when Pamela Georgeson, DO, from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology joined us on April 13, 2005.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR:
Welcome to WebMD Live, Dr. Georgeson. Thank you for joining us today. How bad do you expect the allergy season to be this year? Or does that depend on where you are?

GEORGESON:
The anticipation of how bad an allergy season will be does depend on what part of the country one lives in. Depending on whom you speak to and what you read, there will be conflicting recommendations in reference to whether or not a severe winter contributes to a bad allergy season or a mild winter contributes to an allergy season.

The best source for determining how much pollen and mold are in the air is to check pollen counts performed in your area. The best source to obtain these is the AAAAI web site at www.aaaai.org. That stands for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The higher the pollen and mold counts the more severe the allergy season will be for those patients who suffer from allergic rhinitis.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I've heard that certain cities are worse than others for allergies. Is central Ohio known to be bad? The reason I ask is that my three school-aged children have developed seasonal allergies (like this season) and neither my husband nor I have any allergies whatsoever.

GEORGESON:
Yes, certain parts of the country can be more allergy prone than the others and the Midwest -- including central Ohio -- would be an area with high pollen and mold counts.

It is true that allergic rhinitis runs in families; however, if neither parent suffers from allergies it is still possible for their children to develop allergies. It is very possible that there are other family members who do suffer such as grandparents, aunts and uncles which could contribute to the heredity of your children.

MEMBER:
Actually there are no family members on either side with allergies, distant or close. And the funny thing is that all three kids developed new allergies two springs ago: two kids with apparent tree allergies and one with what I suppose is more of a grass allergy. Her allergy kicks in when the grass goes to seed.

GEORGESON:
It still is possible for her children to develop allergies without any known family history of allergic disease. It would be best to have her children evaluated and tested by an allergist to determine whether or not her children truly are allergic.

"It is always a good thing to know what one is allergic to, as avoidance is the mainstay of allergy therapy."

MEMBER QUESTION:
How can I tell if my symptoms are an allergy or just a spring cold?

GEORGESON:
The symptoms of allergies are very similar to that of a cold. They include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and overall fatigue. One way to distinguish between the two is a person who suffers from the common cold often has an accompanying low-grade fever and the symptoms usually improve within seven to 10 days. A patient with allergies will have symptoms that persist longer than seven to 10 days and also often have associated itching of their nose and eyes, watery eyes, itchy ears and/or itchy scratchy throat.