Pediatrician: Allergy season is here to stay

Published 2:15 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

Symptoms mirror colds

Alabama is in the midst of allergy season, and local pediatrician Dr. Bhagwan Bang said that allergies could last until September.

Bang said that it is difficult to tell how many patients have come in his office specifically for allergy-related illnesses.

“It is hard to tell which patients are coming in for only allergies,” Bang said. “Because the allergy symptoms are so close to symptoms for the common cold and we have had a lot of kids come in for that. I would say 30 percent of patients I have seen have had a cold.”

Usually the allergy season starts a little bit later in spring, but this year Bang said that the allergy season started earlier.

“For seasonal allergies, they usually start in February,” Bang said. “And they will last until around September.”

Bang said that the main reason that he has seen patients for allergies has been pollen.

“What we see during the spring, is mostly people suffering from pollen allergies,” Bang said. “If it is raining and tropical feeling, then the pollen is going to be really bad, but if it is dry then the pollen won’t really be a problem.”

There are three things that Bang said can help when it comes to allergies.

The first thing and most important thing, which Bang said can sometimes be difficult, is to avoid the allergens.

“Avoiding your allergens is the best way to make sure that you don’t suffer from allergies,” Bang said. “But that can sometimes be difficult, because sometimes you want to play golf, or be outside so it is difficult to avoid allergens. One thing you can do is check the pollen count in your area to make sure that it is not too bad when you are outside. The pollen count tends to be higher in the morning, so if you want to go outside or run outside then you should probably wait until the evening. Another thing is making sure that your pets aren’t sleeping with you at night, because their fur will carry pollen.”

The second thing that could help with allergies this season is medication, Bang said.

“There are several over-the-counter medications that can help with allergies like anti,” Bang said. “The one that works the best, in my opinion, is inhaled steroids, but the main problem with that is people are not taking it correctly. I advise people to look at a YouTube video before using the inhaled steroids. They also need to read the box and make sure that they are not taking it with other medicines that they do not need to mix.”

The last thing that could help with the allergies, Bang said, is to go to an allergist.

“If your symptoms are so significant that you are missing work or you don’t feel 100 percent during the day, then I suggest you go to an allergist and get an allergy test to see what you are allergic to,” Bang said. “They can do an allergy test where they figure out just what you are allergic to so you can be ready to avoid that allergen. You can also do immunotherapy, which doesn’t only treat allergies, it can also help in several other ways.”

Some other tips that Bang suggested are showering prior to going to sleep, washing bed linens, using an air filter, using a mask while cutting the lawn and making sure to check the weather.