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GOT ALLERGIES?

Approach of spring means sneezing, runny noses to some

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POSTED January 30, 2013 3:45 p.m.

For most people spring means warmer temperatures, sunshine and the chance to put those winter coats back into the closet.

But for those with allergies, it means a runny nose, watery eyes and a perpetual sneeze that comes with the increased pollen of the season – Mother Nature coming out of her winter hibernation and back into bloom.

It can be downright miserable.

Then there are the others that never quite make it out of allergy season – those that are susceptible to the mold spores borne out of the winter rains in addition to the dust and dust mites that make staying indoors unbearable. It’s a one-two punch that can make the flu look like a trip to Disneyland.

And according to Doctor George Bensch of Manteca Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, the concept of a true allergy “season” is somewhat misleading considering that there is always going to be something plentiful around that will trigger a reaction in a large number of people.

“Right now people that are allergic to mold are in trouble,” he said. “We have areas with dense vegetation and when the frost warms up we get conditions where mold flourishes.

“Then you have allergies that affect people all the time like dust and dust mites. You might have that child that can’t go outside because of the weather and he’s literally trapped in an environment where everything around him is allergenic.”

Bensch said that most people that suffer from mild allergies are fortunate because many of the prescription medications that they used to have to visit a doctor for are now readily available Over-the-Counter at their local pharmacy – eliminating the middle man when the symptoms become too severe.

Most people, he said, will want to stick with a non-sedating variety of medication like Claritin or Zyrtec – both of which are now available in generic forms at a greatly reduced price.

Those with major allergies should still seek medical advice and guidance.

But not realizing what is causing the allergies is something that can be detrimental and lead to a prolonged period of suffering, he said.

Candles, fragrances and potpourri, for example, are all capable of bringing on an attack and a lot of times people won’t realize that they’re responsible.

And there’s always the possibility that allergies can irritate a pre-existing condition like asthma or eczema or bring on a new one like chronic sinusitis or chronic ear infections. They can also lower the immune system and make somebody susceptible to a viral infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.

“A lot of times people treat them like they’re a nuisance, and for a lot of people that’s the case,” he said. “But for some it’s a serious thing. It’s not as easy as going down to the drug store and picking something up and seeing everything go away.”

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