5 questions: Dr. Anthony Harris

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Dr. Anthony Harris is an allergy specialist in Aiken.

1. What type of allergies are most people suffering from this time of year?

Springtime is the time of year when trees are pollinating. Depending on the weather patterns, it may begin in January or February and continues on through April, at which time the grasses start pollinating.

2. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF THESE ALLERGIES?

Sneezing, certainly, would be the most common symptom, along with itchy eyes and a runny nose. People can also develop wheezing and shortness of breath, as well as an itching in the palate.

3. WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD FOR COPING WITH ALLERGIES?

Avoidance is always the first approach to allergies. People with springtime allergies should try and stay indoors as much as possible, particularly if it is a windy day. The next approach for allergies would be taking medications that reduce the reaction, and there are a number of allergy medications that are available for management. There are excellent antihistamines available over-the-counter and a number of other medications which would require a visit to a physician for a prescription.

4. HOW WOULD PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM ALLERGIES AND NOT A COLD?

Anytime that the symptoms described above persist for more than two weeks and are recurring, particularly during certain times of the year, allergies must be suspected, particularly if there is a strong history in the family of allergic disease or asthma.

5. FOR A PERSON WHO HAS JUST MOVED TO THE AREA AND HAS NEVER HAD ALLERGIES BEFORE, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?

Certainly a visit to the pharmacy for a recommendation of an antihistamine from a pharmacist would be appropriate. If that trial is not successful, a physician visit would certainly be the next approach. Ultimately, if people cannot get relief from avoidance or medications, an evaluation by an allergist to determine specific allergies with the thought to consider immunotherapy would be the next step.


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