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Allergy season in full swing now

By JR Ortega
April 18, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2012 at 11:19 p.m.

What you should know about allergies

Five Allergy Facts

What are the symptoms?The most common allergy symptoms officers see is known as allergic rhinitis, or the inflammation of the nasal airway. McNeill commonly sees patients with runny noses, coughing and nasal drainage.

Itchy eyes and throat are also common symptoms.

About 55 percent of U.S. citizens test positive for one or more allergens, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

What allergens affect our area most?Mold, pecan, algae, grass, pellitory-of-the-wall and weeds commonly affect our area, according to the Victoria Allergy and Asthma Clinic's pollen forecast.

Some allergies are year-round, McNeill said. If it's a wet season, people who have high reaction to molds may be suffering. There is also pet dander and dust mites that many are allergic to. Checking your allergy websites, like allegra.com, which has a pollen forecast, can also help those with seasonal allergies plan.

What can you do about it?So how do you get rid of these pesky allergies? Well, there are different ways to go about it, McNeill said. Simple actions, like keeping windows closed and avoiding exposure can ease symptoms in those who have high spring allergies.

Avoiding times when pollen is at its height, like in the morning, is also important, McNeill said. Aside from that, over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec are antihistamines that people with allergies should take daily. "I tell patients, when one stops working, try another," McNeill said.

These can help alleviate some symptoms, but once the allergies begin to affect daily living is when people should see a doctor, McNeill said. Having an allergy test if you do not know what you may be allergic to is very helpful, he added.

When will the allergies stop?The answer is simple - they don't. Allergy symptoms seem to peak in the spring and summer months and dwindle in the winter, but that doesn't mean that they don't continue for some. Molds, pet dander, dust mites and certain food keep the allergies going, even when flowers aren't blooming, McNeill said.

What's the different between cold and allergies?The symptoms are fairly the same, except allergies don't cause fevers. What confuses most people is that congestion from allergies typically set people up for infections, McNeill said. "This is why you've got to treat the allergies," McNeill said. "Allergies can be what got it started."

It starts with a sniffle, and then, a sneeze.

Pretty soon, you're holding a tissue to your nose pointing your head toward the light, doing anything and everything to stop the drainage.

It may be a gross image, but it's a true image, said Dr. John McNeill, a Victoria general practitioner.

"There is a whole lot of it going on right now," said McNeill, who runs both Twin Fountains clinics in Victoria. "It's everything that makes a person feel miserable."

The Crossroads has seen an influx of new residents with the boom of the Eagle Ford Shale, the Caterpillar plant and the ongoing oil business, so allergies may be something foreign to new Victoria residents, McNeill said.

McNeill's offices have seen a definite increase in patients complaining of allergies every since spring, well, sprung.

Most offices see these allergy symptoms with the wildflowers and others when trees begin to bloom, but truth is, allergies are a year 'round issue, depending on the person.

"There is not a day that goes by we don't see a patient with allergies," McNeill said.

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