Dr. Rowe's Allergy Info

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Novi, MI 48375

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How to Beat Late Summer Ragweed “Hay Fever”
By Michael S. Rowe, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.I.

Have you recently been sneezing, stuffy, and sniffling throughout the day and night?  Is it a nasty cold or are you suffering from seasonal allergies?

If these symptoms occur repeatedly here in Michigan at this time of year, you probably have an allergy to pollen from the Ambrosia plant, otherwise known as ragweed.  In fact, 75% of people who suffer from pollen allergies are allergic to ragweed.

As in all allergies, the body’s immune system produces a response to a foreign substance that is harmless.  At this time of year, the invader is typically the tiny grains of pollen from the ragweed plants.  A single ragweed plant can release one billion pollen grains during a ragweed season, each grain able to float up to two miles into the atmosphere.

In addition to sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, and nasal congestion, ragweed allergy can also cause red, itchy, puffy eyes, itchy throat, and flare-ups of asthma and sinusitis.   People allergic to ragweed may also get a burning or tingling feeling in their mouth after eating cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, bananas, squash, or avocado.  These fruits may cause symptoms throughout the year, but may be especially troublesome during ragweed season.

Can ragweed pollen be avoided?  Even though a filtering mask may seem helpful, it is not very effective in limiting pollen inhalation.  Air conditioning and air filtration units are more beneficial, but benefit is achieved only if one remains in the enclosed areas.  Cleansing pollen from the nasal and sinus passages by irrigating with a salt water solution once or twice daily can help to reduce allergy symptoms. 

When avoidance strategies are not adequate, medications can reduce symptoms further.  Antihistamines relieve sneezing and itchy, runny nose.  For most ragweed sufferers, the non-prescription antihistamines (Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra) give minimal relief of symptoms.  Oral decongestants can decrease nasal stuffiness.  Nasal decongestant sprays are not recommended for allergies as the medications are addictive when used regularly. 

Allergists are the experts in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of allergy symptoms.  Preventive prescription nasal sprays and tablets that are not habit forming can be recommended for significant relief.  In selected situations, a single injection can be given at the beginning of the season, greatly limiting symptoms and medications.

The ultimate treatment for ragweed allergy (and outdoor and indoor allergies in general) is immunotherapy.  Allergy injections are the most effective treatment to reduce symptoms as well as the need for medications. 

Dr. Rowe can outline a customized program to help diagnose and treat your allergies, rapidly and significantly reducing your troublesome allergy symptoms. 

Call our office at 248-473-6400 for an appointment and feel better soon!  Same day visits are available for prompt relief.  Refer your family, neighbors, friends, and business associates.

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