Itchy, watery eyes? Nonstop sneezing? Allergy season is here. Find a physician today. Click here to access our online physician directory or call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968).
There's the wheezing and sneezing, the nasal congestion, watery eyes and headaches. For many, allergy season can be summed up in a word. Misery.
As many as 35 million Americans suffer from allergies to airborne pollen from trees, plants and grasses. Take our true/false quiz to see if you know how to keep seasonal allergies under control.
1. If you're allergic to grass pollen, keeping your lawn cut short won't help. T or F
2. Flowering shrubs and trees are a major culprit of airborne allergies, so it's best to avoid them when they blossom.
T or F
3. The best way to avoid airborne allergies is to stay inside.
T or F
4. An allergist is likely to recommend a lifetime regimen of allergy shots. T or F
5. Allergy shots can be given to children. T or F
6. Generally, allergy sufferers are safe in the winter because freezing temperatures kill most allergens. T or F
1. True. Grass pollen blows for miles. Just because you keep your lawn cut short doesn't mean your neighbors do, warns a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's (ACAAI's) aerobiology committee.
2. False. Beautiful blooming plants are not always the problem. Pollen from plain-looking trees, grasses and weeds causes most allergies. According to the ACAAI, years ago everybody thought they were allergic to goldenrod, and it was ragweed all along.
3. False. The best way to avoid allergies is to know what you need to avoid. In other words, see an allergist to pinpoint your allergies. Then, instead of holing up inside, you'll know the culprit.
4. False. The concept that people need to be on allergy shots indefinitely is not true. While allergy shots help build immunity to specific allergens, experts say over-the-counter medications and allergen avoidance may be enough.
5. True. Allergy shots can be started at 4 or 5 years old. In fact, vaccinating children early may prevent allergies from worsening and it may establish lasting immunity, according to the ACAAI. Discuss options with your physician.
6. False. While frost does kill pollen-producing plants, other allergens such as molds, dust mites and animal dander can irritate year-round. Some precautions: Use a central vacuum, keep a low-humidity home, dust furniture with a damp cloth and wash bedding at least once a week in hot water.
6: You're a whiz on what causes wheezing.
4-5: Your allergy acumen is impressive.
2-3: Are you allergic to facts?
0-1: You know as much as a mold spore.