ASK THE EXPERT: Finding relief for spring allergies

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE S.C. (WSPA)– The first day of spring is this Saturday which means the world will be back in bloom, but unfortunately so will your spring allergies.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News’ Taylor Murray finds out how you can combat symptoms this sneezing season and find some relief.

More than 50 million Americans suffer with spring allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

“Spring is the season where pollen is frequently in the air were breathing it in.”

Dr. Andrew Heffernan an Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeon with Bon Secours St. Francis Health says allergy suffers experience sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and throat, runny or stuffy nose and coughing this time of year.

“The body becomes overly sensitized to these particles in our environment and creates an immune response.”

Dr. Heffernan says tree pollen is most problematic right now.

“Upstate South Carolina is a trouble area for allergies.”

Dr. Andrew Heffernan, ENT at Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Three upstate trees in particular are to blame for triggering your allergies.

“Some of the trees that are the biggest issue in Greenville are Elm, Juniper and Elder.

Other plants in bloom, grass, flowers and mold spores also contribute to your suffering.

Dr. Heffernan says you can use over-the-counter medicines to treat your symptoms.

“Over the counter allergy pills that people take are a little bit of a catch all, so they can help with the nose and itchy eyes and skin.”

However, there is a downside.

“Some of them have some mild sedating effects and sometimes people can get sleepy from them.”

There are several effective brands on the market, but if the allergy pills aren’t helping, Dr. Heffernan says to try over-the-counter eye drops and nose sprays.

“There are a number of different intranasal steroids that are available over-the-counter.”

Home remedies like saline nasal rinsing and changing your air filter more frequently can also bring relief, but if it doesn’t, it may be time to see the doctor.

Dr. Heffernan says it’s also good idea to change into fresh clothes when you return home, so that you don’t track pollen into your living space.

To submit a health topic for our “Ask the Expert” series, click here.

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