A blocked and runny nose, itching and watering eyes and sneezing. Those are all pollen allergy symptoms that can make the sufferers feel really bad, but there is no need to be longing for fall and winter already because the good news is that almost everyone suffering from pollen allergy can be helped. The bad news, however, is that people often ignore their allergic symptoms and do not know enough about the condition to get the necessary help.
“Many people just try to live with their allergy symptoms and suffer from them quite substantially even though many things can be done about it. Top of the list is to understand the measures you can take to minimise your symptoms, getting a proper diagnosis via the doctor and then find the treatment that works best for you”, says allergy expert at ALK Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
Is it best to stay indoors?
Staying inside can make spring and summer a bit of a bore, but luckily, many of those who suffer from regular allergies can still enjoy the outdoors by reducing their exposure to pollen through these simple measures during spring and summer:
Wash your hair and change clothes when you get home after being out. Mow your lawn while it is wet from dew. Use a dryer and dry your laundry inside. Drive with closed windows and use a pollen filter in your car. Wear sunglasses when you go for a run or a bike ride. Keep the windows closed while pollen numbers are high. Check pollen numbers and make plans accordingly and avoid furry animals which can carry pollen.
Is pollen allergy not just something you should learn to live with?
Pollen allergy can be more than just a small inconvenience. If left untreated, the disease can significantly affect your quality of life and is considered a risk factor in the development of asthma. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, pollen allergy can cause poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue which can make it difficult for adults to think and function at work and hard for schoolchildren to perform well academically.
Is it necessary to see a doctor?
If you have not been diagnosed with pollen allergy yet and you have symptoms that significantly impact your life, it is advised that you consult your doctor. The doctor will probably ask about the history of your symptoms and conduct a skin prick test that can show if you have pollen allergy.
“Getting a diagnosis is very important if you want to reduce your pollen allergy symptoms and find relief instead of accepting feeling miserable. The main thing to remember is that this is a disease that can be controlled and there are many treatments available from your doctor that can help exactly in doing that”, says Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
Can’t I just use medication from the pharmacist?
Finding the right treatment for your allergy is important as it can make a significant difference in your quality of life, however, another equally important reason to act is the fact that untreated allergic rhinitis is considered a risk factor in the development of asthma. If your allergic symptoms have a large impact on your life, you likely need help from a doctor to identify the most suitable treatment for you.
The treatment options range from over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription symptomatic medicines, to more long-term treatments like allergy immunotherapy. The two overall ways of treatment have both shown to provide relief and put an end to the discomfort and the sensation of feeling ill, but there are some differences:
Symptomatic treatments work while taking the medicine, but have no long-term effect. They reduce the allergy symptoms, but unlike allergy immunotherapy, do not induce tolerance. Most symptomatic treatments are available over-the-counter (OTC), e.g. in supermarkets or pharmacies. Symptomatic treatments can include treatments such as antihistamines, inhaled steroids and decongestants.
Allergy immunotherapy treatment has a long-term effect with sustained improvement, including in the years following treatment. The main difference between symptomatic and immunotherapy treatment is that immunotherapy induces tolerance and alters the natural course of the disease.