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Allergies and Asthma - When It's Time to See Your Doctor

For many people, the arrival of spring also signals the start of allergy season. “Allergies are very common here in Northwest Arkansas, especially during the spring and fall,” says Dr. Tyler Brockman of Washington Regional Fayetteville Family Clinic. “Part of the reason may be that we’re in the Ozark Mountains, so there are lots of trees and pollen, which can worsen allergies. We also have all four seasons here, so the weather can change rapidly and that can worsen symptoms.”

Brockman says common allergy symptoms include nasal congestion; runny nose; itchy, watery or red eyes; sneezing; and sometimes coughing.

According to Brockman, prevention is the first step alleviating allergy symptoms. He suggests limiting time outdoors, keeping windows closed and showering and washing your clothing after spending time outdoors. Over the counter treatments may also provide relief. “Typically, what I tell people is to pick up some over the counter things, starting with nasal rinses, either like a neti pot or the squirt bottle washes, and using that twice a day. They can add a steroid nasal spray like Flonase twice a day as well. And then an antihistamine like Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec, which they can take that in the morning as well.” Brockman says if over the counter allergy treatments don’t provide relief after a couple of weeks, it may be time to call your doctor, who may recommend prescription options.

People who have asthma may also experience shortness of breath, chest tightness or wheezing along with their symptoms. “If you find yourself using your albuterol inhaler multiple times in a week, that may be a sign that your asthma is not well controlled,” Brockman says. “If that’s happening, you should make an appointment with your health care provider.”

For more information or to make an appointment at Fayetteville Family Clinic, click here.