“Bless you!”

Haven’t we all heard that conversation recently?

Allergy sufferers come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Similarly the symptoms they exhibit vary greatly. People can experience some or all of the following: Sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, sinus pressure and ear pressure/popping

Other fairly common symptoms include: fatigue, rash, cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath. These symptoms may be confused with other conditions and are often not initially attributed to “allergies.”

Many people deal with allergic symptoms year round (perennial allergies); however, others primarily are symptom free except during certain times of the year (seasonal allergies). It just happens that the spring is a common time for many people to begin experiencing symptoms or to have them increase.

There are a number of strategies to treat allergies. There are systemic therapies that range from attempts to control symptoms such as antihistamines, to preventing symptoms via “injections.” Some therapies are designed to be symptom specific, such as eye drops for itchy eyes or nasal steroids for nasal congestion. Anyone taking medication for their allergies also needs to understand that these medications may impact any existing medical conditions they may have.

With all the different options available, and no clear cut guidelines that can be applied, it is important to discuss with your primary care provider what might be the best strategy for you. The majority of allergy sufferers do not need to see an allergy specialist; however, for those that do a PCP can help make this decision.

The UofL Health Care Centers for Primary Care serve is a gateway to meeting all of your health care needs. You can reach us at the UofL Health Care Outpatient Center at 401 E. Chestnut St., 813-6800, and Cardinal Station at the corner of Third Street and Central Avenue at 852-5205.