Consumer Watch: How to survive a potentially horrible allergy season

Spring time brings in the warm weather, and a mess of pollen. This spring may be especially challenging for allergy sufferers.

From itchy eyes to a runny nose, and even a sore throat, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between an allergy flare-up and a cold because they share many of the same symptoms.

"When the symptoms persist longer than 10 days, that is when it is a good idea that it might be something else,” says Dr. Shahan Stutes, an allergist and immunologist with the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

Dr. Stutes says Oklahoma can be tough for many allergy sufferers at all times of the year. This year could be especially difficult because there is the possibility that the lack of cold weather this winter could make things worse. Whether your allergies have been feeling worse or about as terrible as they do every year, there is no need to suffer. A simple allergy test can quickly let you know what you are up against. Some people are afraid of these tests, but Dr. Stutes says there is no need to be afraid.

"Older techniques that were commonly used for allergy testing in the past. Multiple needles were often used, and it could be quite painful now we use scratch testing or prick testing which as you will see shortly is not very painful at all,” says Dr. Stutes.

Here are some doctor approved recommendations:

1. Over the counter antihistamines are good to lessen itching and sneezing.

2. Recently, many prescription nasal sprays became over the counter. they are great for controlling congestion and throat problems.

3. If nothing is working, consider an allergy test.

The Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic says spring time is their busy time because multiple trees are releasing pollen, but ask about possible extended hours if you are looking for an appointment. If you know what you are allergic to, and want a look ahead at how you may be feeling for the day, be sure to check allergy reports before heading out the door.

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