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

Many people who are experiencing sneezing, runny nose and congestion may think they have a common cold, but they actually could 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 explains some common allergens.

“... seasonal allergies mean allergies that occur with the seasons – spring, fall, summer, winter.  So people will say, I have an allergy come springtime, my nose runs, I get itchy eyes and I can’t sleep and I cough.  That would be a springtime allergy which may be related to trees.  The most common allergy that we see and the most common talked about is the fall allergy of ragweed.” 

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.

“The first line as I mentioned is the antihistamines.  Second line would be to use nasal medications and there are several kinds.  There is the pure steroid, then there is the pure antihistamine. Then there is a combination on the market which is a combination of a steroid and an antihistamine that you can use in the nose ...”

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

Ruth Slottag.