Spring allergies in full bloom - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Spring allergies in full bloom

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

It’s only the second day of spring, but local doctors say thousands of people in the Lowcountry are suffering from allergy symptoms and higher pollen counts could worsen those symptoms over the next few weeks.

One local doctor says using over the counter medicines is one of the best ways to fight many of those light to moderate symptoms.

You’ve probably already noticed all of the pollen on cars, or in your yards. Experts say pollen counts are peaking right now – and will go up and down over the next few weeks – depending on the weather.

So you may feel like your symptoms will get worse.

Dr. Thomas Beller, an allergist in Hilton Head, recommends you use over the counter antihistamines or nasal sprays to combat itchy and watery eyes, running noses and sneezing.

“If antihistamines control the symptoms, great. If not, we have to move on to topical medications like nasal steroid sprays, eye drops; there are several different allergy eye drops over the counter. One nasal spray I don’t recommend is decongestant sprays. The sprays that work best for allergies that don’t have addictive effects are steroid sprays,” said Dr. Beller, Allergy and Asthma Center of Hilton Head.

Because of the changing weather and the high pollen counts, this is definitely one of the worst times of year for those who suffer from allergies. But doctors say there are ways to help you feel better.

“I get sneezing, a bit of congestion, and mostly coughing. I have a cough at this time of year,” said Carol Corey.

Like Corey, millions of people suffer from allergies whose symptoms get worse during the spring.

“I take the Flonase, the nasal spray to help keep the allergens from coming in, and I also take Allegra and that helps a lot,” said Corey.

“Most patients who have allergies will experience itchy and watery eyes, running nose, sneezing and sometimes post nasal drip. More severe patients will get sinus pressure, headaches, cough, sometimes shortness of breath, itchy skin,” said Dr. Beller.

And like Carol’s symptoms, most can be controlled by over the counter medicines. Dr. Beller recommends using non-sedating or minimally sedating antihistamines.

“Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra. Allegra may be the least sedating, Zyrtec may have a very mild advantage in efficacy because it has a little sedation in patients, but to be honest, in every patient it’s different. Some patients tell me ‘oh my gosh, I love Allegra,’ some patients say ‘oh my God, I love Claritin.’ Trial and error is the way to go,” said Dr. Beller.

If those trials don’t work, there are more options, but you need to see a doctor.

“We can find the specific things that are bothering you and we can formulate an immunal therapy regimen. What we do with that regimen is we actually vaccinate the patient with the things they’re allergic to,” said Dr. Beller.

Dr. Beller says those same over the counter treatments will work for children with allergies, just in a lower dosage.  

For more information on how to fight your allergy symptoms, please click here. 

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