Arm yourself for spring with these five smart strategies…
Once the blanket of yellow pollen descends on Atlanta, we all know that the sniffles, watery eyes and headaches will soon follow. Yes, folks, it’s springtime in our fair city, which means that allergy season is in full swing. We’ve asked some of Buckhead’s finest doctors who specialize in allergies to share the five things that can lead you to relief. Read on for the scoop.
1 – Know what kind of seasonal allergy you have.
Five of the most common grass and tree allergies are oak, birch, cedar, ryegrass and Bermuda grass, says Dr. Alan Redding of Redding Allergy and Asthma Specialists in Buckhead. “Trees pollinate earlier than grasses, so if you have symptoms in March and early April, you probably have tree pollen allergies,” adds Redding. “Grass pollinates later and causes symptoms during midspring and through early summer.”
2 – Try these over-the-counter solutions first.
As is true for treating most medical conditions, there is no one solution for everyone, says Dr. Jeffrey Gallups, founder and medical director of the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, which has a location in Buckhead. If you have a runny nose, he recommends an antihistamine such as Allegra. If you have this symptom and congestion, Gallups recommends trying Allegra-D to dry the drip and open the nasal passages. “Take them as long as you need them, and stop when your symptoms subside,” he says. “It’s trial and error.” Another option? Nasal washing (think neti pot). “This helps to clean the allergens from the nose, and I recommend this to all of my patients,” Gallups adds.
3 – A reason to avoid your morning run.
“If you’re going to exercise outdoors during pollen season, the best time to do so is during the afternoon or evening,” Redding says. “That’s because pollen counts are lower during those times than they are during the morning.”
4 – Shots might be your best bet for 24/7 relief.
The reason Gallups chose his specialization was because he suffered from nasal allergies as a child. The sole way he could find relief was through allergy shots. “Ultimately, the only way to have 24-hour prevention of allergy symptoms is with immunotherapy—or allergy shots,” he says. “Every allergist has a different method of administering these injections. At the ENT Institute, we allow patients to take the majority of their therapy at home. It is safe and cost-effective by virtue of not having to take the time, money and effort to go to a doctor’s office.”
5 – The early bird avoids the allergies.
If you have spring allergies and over-the-counter medications don’t work, see a doctor before you are hit full-force with symptoms. “Then you’ll be fully prepared for allergy season with medications, or possibly, allergy shots,” Redding says.
FOOD INTOLERANCE 101
If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms post-pollen, a food intolerance could be the culprit, says Dr. Taz Bhatia, founder of Brookhaven’s CentreSpringMD. “Many don’t realize that the root of allergies is also poor digestive health,” says Bhatia.
Her approach to allergies looks at everything from medical history to genes. As part of this process, her practice offers the Alcat blood test as one option to get to the bottom of a food sensitivity. “The test looks at white blood cell reactivity rather than histamine reactions,” she says. “So if you’re suffering from vague allergy symptoms, including stomach aches, headaches, joint pain or fatigue after eating, this test might be an option for you.”
1401 Dresden Drive
Ear, Nose and Throat Institute
2140 Peachtree Road N.W., Suite 360
Redding Allergy and Asthma Specialists
3193 Howell Mill Road N.W., Suite 102
STORY: Amelia Pavlik