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Although allergens are present all year round, allergy sufferers find the spring and summer months especially troublesome.

Many people who are experiencing sneezing, runny nose and congestion think they have a common cold, but they actually may be suffering from allergies.  It is believed that 35 percent of the U.S. population has some form of allergic rhinitis says Dr. Richard Bass, professor of otolaryngology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.   He suggests some allergens that can cause problems.

SOUND BITE:  “In the early spring, it’s trees.  In later spring, it’s the grasses.  Molds also can be throughout the year.  And ragweed is a particular allergen that occurs in the late summer, early fall, usually around the fifteenth of August in the central Illinois area, we’ll notice that individuals will start having problems.”

Dr. Bass says susceptibility to allergies is genetic and usually runs in families.  There is no cure, but there are ways to manage and treat the condition.  The first way is to take steps to identify and avoid the allergy triggers.  He suggests some medications for treating allergies including antihistamines.

SOUND BITE:  “Some of the common ones would be cetirizine, loratadine, would be some of the two more common ones.  There’s also nasal steroids.  There’s a lot of nasal steroids on the market also that would help some individuals and intranasal steroids that also would help.  Flonase, fluticasone is a generic name, it’s one of the earliest nasal steriods and it works very well for individuals who have allergic rhinitis.” 

Dr. Bass recommends shots or medications for individuals whose allergies are not improved with other medications. Anyone suffering from allergies should see their primary care physician, who may refer them to an allergist for further evaluation and possible treatment. 

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.