January 21, 2014
If you have sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes or nasal congestion that has lasted more than ten days, you may have winter allergies. Dr. Richard Bass, professor of otolaryngology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says an allergy is an abnormal immune response to environmental agents. He describes winter allergies.
“Allergies in winter are indoor allergies. They include a fungus, molds – that would be another name for fungus, and of course dust mites. And also your cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, that kind of thing would be the allergens you would see most often in the winter.”
Dr. Bass says environmental controls can help remove dust mites and control allergies. This includes cleaning the house appropriately, removing carpets, using dust covers on the beds and cloth furniture. He suggests some treatment options.
“... if you can’t completely eliminate the allergen, then there are a lot of medications that are over the counter. There are many antihistamines that can be used for this. There are also some other agents which usually are medication called leukotriene inhibitors ...”
Dr. Bass recommends immunotheraphy shots for individuals who are not improved by medicines. Anyone suffering from allergies should see their primary care physician, who may refer them to an allergist for further evaluation and possible treatment.