March marked the beginning of spring, but for many, it also marked the beginning of the allergy season.
For those new to Sacramento, also known as the "City of Trees," we thought it might be helpful to provide some helpful tips related to allergy and answer some of the most frequently asked questions. These could also help those who grew up here and are experiencing allergies for the first time.
How can I differentiate between allergies and a cold?
Dr. Marc Ikeda, Head of Allergies at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, said that this is one of the most frequently asked questions. One of the keys to allergies is that they are predictable and occur at the same time every year. Distinctive features of allergies are watery and itchy eyes and nose, which can cause sneezing. Nasal drainage and postnasal drip can also cause coughing. Sometimes, those can lead to sore throats. If you have a fever and have low energy, you are more likely to have a cold. However, keep in mind that allergies can also cause fatigue if you are congested and do not sleep well. The important thing is to observe the pattern and your personal history with allergies.
How can I fight serious allergies?
Dr. Ikeda recommends three ways to combat allergies: avoidance, medication and the allergy shot. The tests can be useful to discover what exactly allergic is, so you can avoid it. Medications include antihistamines, such as over-the-counter allergy pills, which include Claratin or Zyrtec. Dr. Ikedia said nasal steroid aerosols, such as Flonase, can be the most effective. They work slower but they are more effective. If you use them consistently, you will see better benefits and help with congestion. Allergy shots literally inject your body with substances that you are allergic to on a regular basis so that your body gets used to them.
Does the change in allergy medications work better, such as Claritin and Zyrtec?
While some people insist on switching allergy medications between seasons or during seasons, work for them, Dr. Ikeda said there is no scientific data behind the theory.
Does honey and / or local pollen really work?
While local honey and / or pollen work for many people, Dr. Ikeda says the science behind this theory is a little confusing. Pollens that cause us allergies are pollinated through the wind and we inhale them. The pollen found in honey is pollinated by bees and comes from flowers. These do not usually cause allergies. However, honey has other health benefits that could also work for allergies.
How early should I start taking allergy medication?
Dr. Ikeda believes that getting ahead of the game can be useful, especially with nasal sprays, because they take a couple of weeks.
When does the allergy season in Sacramento begin and end?
The allergy season in Sacramento usually begins in March and continues in June. When it is very hot in the summer (think at 100 degrees or more), the amount of pollen decreases. However, when it gets cooler. the pollen returns. Then we typically see spring and fall allergies in Sacramento.
If I've never had allergies before, am I clean?
No. According to Dr. Ikeda, allergies can occur at any time. If you grew up in a place like Sacramento, where citizens are prone to allergies, you are less likely to develop them in adulthood. However, it is still possible. Many people who move to Sacramento from the Bay Area develop allergies quickly when they arrive. Newcomers from more distant places may not see the symptoms of allergy for 2-3 years, as it takes the body a few cycles before developing sensitivities to pollen.
How do I know if I should see a doctor about my allergies?
If your allergies are bothering you, it's always worth checking out. If you would like more information about the tests, contact your local hospital and ask to see a doctor about allergy tests.
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