Spring is the busiest time of year at your allergist’s office as patients begin experiencing the first symptoms of seasonal allergies, or ‘hay fever.’  An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from allergies to pollen and mold, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy eyes, nose throat and/or ears.  If you’re planning to see your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician this spring, make sure you get the most from your appointment  by writing down your questions and concerns ahead of time. Let your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician know if:

• You have any new symptoms or symptoms that are worse than in previous years. Be sure to mention if you experience coughing, difficulty breathing or loss of sleep, as these can be signs of asthma.
• You have missed school or work due to allergy or asthma symptoms. It’s very important that you report any related hospitalizations or visits to the emergency department. Your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician can help you gain better control of your allergies and/or asthma.
• You are taking any medications, even if they are over-the-counter. This includes any herbal supplements. This information will help your Asthma & Allergy Center Clinician prescribe safe treatments.  Please bring a list of your medications with you.

You might also want to ask these questions:
• Am I currently on the best treatment plan? With proper treatment, most allergies and/or asthma can be managed so they do not interfere with life.
• What steps can I take to avoid allergy symptoms? There may be simple changes you can make inside or outside your home, school or work to prevent reactions.
• What other treatment options are available? This may include allergy shots, less expensive medications or home remedies.

In most parts of the country, trees are the first plants to pollinate, beginning in early spring. Grass pollen is present in the early summer months and weed pollen (such as ragweed) arrives in the late summer and fall. Allergy sufferers in many areas get relief in winter months when pollen levels are extremely low.

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