Seasonal Allergies Prevention: Tips From Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo For Sneeze-Free Spring

Spring
Pollen is one of the most common causes of Spring allergies. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Spring is here! But, along with the warm weather, the season also brings an increase in pollen and allergy symptoms. If you’re one of the 75 million Americans who suffer from allergies you know all too well how your symptoms can make you feel trapped.

We connected with Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist and Claritin C.L.E.A.R. Council member, to find out more about seasonal allergies, common symptoms and what you can do to help keep them at bay this spring!

1. Let’s start with the basics, what can you tell us about seasonal allergies?

-   An “allergy” is a sensitivity of the immune system to something that is generally harmless. When the body tries to rid itself of the “allergen” (foreign substance), it causes symptoms such as sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, or a runny nose. Common allergens include pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and mold.

-   This sensitivity often starts during childhood or adolescence. And although it is not fully understood why some people develop allergies and others don’t, we do know that allergies can be inherited. If both parents have allergies, the likelihood of a child developing allergies is 65 percent. If just the mother or father has allergies, the likelihood of a child developing allergies is approximately 50 percent. 3

2.  What are some common symptoms of seasonal allergies?

-  While everyone’s allergy symptoms may be slightly different, some of the most common symptoms are a runny nose, sneezing and irritated, itchy, or watery eyes.

-  Spring is often the worst time of year for my patients with seasonal allergies, but the reality is people can experience allergies during any season. The Summer and Fall can also bring about allergy symptoms among some sufferers. The timing and duration of each allergy sufferer’s symptoms truly varies.

3. Some of these symptoms seem very similar to a cold. How are they different?

-  Although seasonal allergies and colds have similar symptoms, there are some signs that can help you differentiate these conditions. It’s probably an allergy if you aren’t experiencing fever or muscular pain, sneezes are multiple, rapid and consecutive, and your nose, ears and throat can be itchy.

-  Additionally, the symptoms of seasonal allergies appear during a specific season and can generally last longer than those of a common cold, which usually resolves within seven to ten days.

4. You mentioned that allergies often begin during childhood. Do you have any advice for parents who may suspect their child has allergies?

-  As a mom, I encourage other parents to keep an eye out for potential symptoms in their child early. The difficulty is that allergy symptoms aren’t always easy to recognize, especially for a first-time parent. That’s why it’s so important to have trusted resources to help you better understand and manage your child’s allergies.

-  The makers of Claritin have created SmartAllergyMomToolkit.com, which offers many resources to help parents throughout their child’s journey with allergies, including educational information about allergies, tips to prepare for a chat with your child’s pediatrician and easy-to-use tools like a Symptom Tracker. It’s a great place to start if you’ve recently learned your child has allergies or you suspect they do.

5. What are some ways people can manage their or their children’s seasonal allergies this Spring?

-   The good news is allergies don’t have to hold anyone back from spending time outdoors this Spring. Heading into allergy season, there are a few tips I always give my patients to stay ahead of their symptoms:

  • Be ready. Keep an allergy medicine, such as Claritin®, on hand. Claritin offers products to help the entire family, including Children’s Claritin. Children’s Claritin provides relief of your child’s allergy symptoms for 24-hours without causing drowsiness. The key is to give it to your child as soon as his or her symptoms start.
  • Check the pollen forecast: The highest pollen production sometimes occurs in the early morning, so try to plan outdoor activities accordingly.
  • Wash appropriately: Bathe and wash your or your child’s hair immediately after going back indoors to get rid of any pollen that may have collected on you while outside.
  • Cover openings: Keep the windows in your home and car closed. In the car, adjust the air conditioner to recirculate the air. At home, be sure to change the filters often.
  • Know your enemy: Recognize what causes both your allergy symptoms and your children’s allergy symptoms. If grass pollen is one of your triggers, wear a mask when you mow the lawn or avoid doing it.

6.  Where can people go for more information?

o   You can visit Claritinespanol.com for more information about seasonal allergies, symptom management and treatment with Claritin. While you’re there, you can also get a coupon to help relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms.

References:

  1. Nathan et al. The prevalence of nasal symptoms attributed to allergies in the United States: Findings from the burden of rhinitis in an America survey. Allergy Asthma Proc 2008; 29; 600-8.
  2. United States Census Bureau. www.census.gov/popest/data/national/totals/2013/index.html. Accessed on January 15, 2016.
  3. Own by DR. Environmental factors versus genetic determinants of childhood inhalants allergies. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990;86:279-87.
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Natalie Roterman
Natalie Roterman

Natalie (from Mexico) joined Latin Times back in 2014 and she is all about pop culture and entertainment. She also has a genetic love for food and traveling. Follow her and get the scoop on the biggest upcoming films and TV shows, plus interviews with your favorite stars that you won’t want to miss. When she’s not writing for Latin Times, she’s either filming her next episode of “El Show de Natalie,” at a movie theater, binge-watching a new TV series, or planning her next meal.