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Strategies help conquer the battle between you and allergies

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Watery eyes, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat and uncontrollable sneezes — sound familiar? If so, you are one of the approximately 40 million people who suffer from allergies.Research from Health.msn.com has concluded “that allergies can affect a person’s quality of life including productivity and educational performance.”As junior Kitania Blake sits in a classroom in Crosby Hall, she says, “My throat and my eyes are itching so bad right now.” Before she can finish her sentence, she is interrupted by a sneeze from one of her classmates. This familiar scene occurs as spring blossoms, bringing forth pollen, and spring winds kick up dust that we have to confront as we walk across campus. The best evidence of the “dreadful pollen” is the yellow dirt-like substance found on every car on this campus — although experts say the large pollen grains shed by pine trees do not cause allergies, the yellow film reminds us of the invisible variety spreading in the air. Professionals recommend the first step in dealing with allergies is to visit an allergist, but we all know that it is not easy for a college student to make it to the doctor, better yet an allergy specialist. For those who do not suffer from chronic allergies, visiting a local pharmacy and speaking with the pharmacist about the best over-the-counter medicines may suffice. If you need to deal with chronic problems, an allergist will perform a series of tests to isolate what’s bothering you.At Lebauer Allergy & Asthma in Greensboro, after they take your medical history, they will perform allergy skin tests. The first is percutaneous, where they scratch your back with allergens and, depending on your reaction, may either give you another test or begin discussing treatments. The second test, intracutaeous, is where they make an injection under your skin to determine your allergies. Most doctors use a combination therapy of immunotherapy and prescription medicine. Injections contains a small amount of the substance to which you are allergic, so that you can build up a resistance. Injects usually are made over the span of three to five years, usually twice a week at first, then less often with larger doses as time goes by. The sneezing, itching and hives may begin to lessen after at least six months to a year. After about five years, many can stop taking the shots completely.A receptionist at Lebauer Allergy & Asthma, receives such injections. “This helps control the symptoms I usually get from allergies. I am able to work and enjoy the outdoors better because of the injections,” she said.Most people only begin to suffer with allergies when an excessive amount of pollen, dust or other air-borne pollutants reach in their nasal passages. When the sneezing, running nose and itching eyes and throat are too much to bear, there are some less expensive treatments. The local Eckerd pharmacy suggests over-the-counter remedies Chloro-trimentine, Benadryl, Tavist and Tylenol Allergy & Sinus, which range in price from $2.99 to $7.99. To help get through the pollen season, try keeping the car rinsed off, knocking off your shoes when you enter the house, covering your mouth when walking outside and buying an air filter. All can help control the amount of pollutants in your environment that can bring on allergy sinus. And watch the weather. When it’s cooler, the humidity is high, and rain is in the forecast the day should bring less discomfort in the form of sneezes, runny noses and itchy eyes.

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