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Last updated on Friday, March 21, 2014
(UNDATED) - Spring is here, and for many people, that means it is also allergy season.
Trees will start to bloom soon, though some might be a little later due to the colder winter in Central Indiana. Once they do, their pollen will start to cause problems for some people.
"Really, you can't see the pollen. It's these big trees you see out your window that don't have any leaves right now," said Dr. Mark Holbreich, an allergist at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.
Pollen is by far the biggest trigger of spring allergies, and it can travel for miles once it is released by trees, flowers or other plants.
Holbreich says the most common treatments are over-the-counter antihistamines. Some, like Benadryl, might make you sleepy, but that generally isn't true of what are known as second generation antihistamines.
"For years, those were prescription only. But over the past ten years or so, Claritin was the first, then Allegra and now Zyrtec, they are all available over the counter," Holbreich said.
There is also a new nasal steroid spray that is available for the first time without a prescription for allergy sufferers.
"Check with your pharmacist, because it is brand new, and it is very effective for people with difficult allergies," Holbreich said.
You might need to see a board-certified allergist if your symptoms persist or are severe. Or, Holbreich says, you might simply have a cold instead.
"Perhaps a cold or a sinus infection, or maybe just some drainage. So if your allergy medications don't give you fairly quick relief, which they should in a couple of days, check with your primary care doctor and try to figure out what's going on."
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