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Allergy Season Is Around The Corner - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Allergy Season Is Around The Corner

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Warmer weather is bringing more people outside, but for those with allergies, the summer months can sometimes be worse than winter. Tuesday morning on the Valley Today, Sanford Health allergist Dr. Chris Cleveland explained how what to expect when trying to enjoy the outdoors this season.

How Soon?

It could be a couple of weeks before tree pollen becomes a problem, Dr. Cleveland says. But he says when the leaves begin to bud on trees, the pollen moves fast and far in our Midwest winds. Mold is the more pressing issue right now, as wet grass becomes exposed.

Cold Vs. Allergy

It can be difficult to differentiate cold symptoms from those of an allergy. Dr. Cleveland says the two "could look very similar" but may vary in duration.

While a cold will typically run its course in seven to ten days, allergies tend to last a little longer. Allergies also have more congestion and drainage, red, watery eyes, itchiness of the eyes, ears, or throat, and shortness of breath or coughing, which may exacerbate other conditions, like asthma.

Simple tests can confirm the presence of an allergy.

"It's as easy as when we call a little scratch test," Dr. Cleveland explains.  "It's nothing more than a small little toothpick on the skin. There's generally no needles involved unless we're testing for food allergies. It's very simple to get tested for allergies and there are pretty easy fixes out there so people don't have to be miserable."

Treatments

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments work on many symptoms, and prescription treatments including oral allergy and asthma tablets and prescription nasal spray are available for more stubborn cases. Allergy shots available if other treatments don't work. 

OTCs And Kids

Most labeling suggests consulting a doctor or pediatrician before treating children under six years of age. Dr. Cleveland notes that most OTCs are very effective and reliable when used according to the directions on the box. Pediatrician can provide further advice on dosing recommendations for children.

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