Achoo! Symptoms of seasonal allergies may seem a temporary nuisance but without treatment, a season of sneezin’ could turn into something more serious.
When does allergy season start? For much of the United States, it kicks off in springtime, when the weather begins to warm up, around late March or early April. Trees, grass and weeds are regrowing, and their yellow pollen has coated everything in sight – leaving us reaching for the tissue box. (Other allergy culprits include pet dander, dust and mold.)
Seasonal allergies – what your doctor would call allergic rhinitis or hay fever – causes sneezing and an itchy nose that’s either runny or maddeningly clogged. Allergies can also cause itchy and watery eyes, headaches and a raw throat from nasal drainage.
Aside from leaving you needlessly miserable for weeks at a time, untreated allergies can spin off into other conditions that could threaten your health.
What can happen if you leave your allergies untreated?
Untreated allergies can get worse, with more severe allergy attacks occurring over time. These frequent or prolonged allergic reactions can also weaken your immune system and set you up for dangerous complications, such as bacterial or fungal infections in the sinuses, lungs, ears or skin.
Allergy sufferers who don’t get adequate treatment are at risk of developing allergies to more substances, leading to more attacks. For individuals with asthma, failure to treat allergies can gradually lead to more frequent and severe asthma attacks.
Can untreated allergies cause permanent damage?
Over time, untreated allergies can cause permanent damage to the lungs. People who experience heavy or prolonged exposure to allergens can eventually develop chronic inflammation, which can diminish healthy lung function.
What is the best treatment for seasonal allergies?
Allergies aren’t easily cured or avoided, but most people can find some relief from symptoms with allergy medications. Oral antihistamines, decongestants and bronchodilators ease the itching, wheezing and sneezing, while nasal sprays sooth irritated nasal tissues.
When allergens are everywhere, it’s impossible to avoid them and difficult to tamp down symptoms once they flare up. However, a primary care doctor can work with you on a treatment plan to get symptoms under control and prevent future allergy attacks. In severe cases, a primary care provider can refer patients to an allergy specialist for more targeted allergy care.
Can a BJC primary care help me with my allergies?
Yes, you can use easy online scheduling to make an appointment with a BJC primary care provider accepting new patients. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will work with you on an allergy plan to help you manage your symptoms.
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