Fredericksburg Parent

March 2017

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18 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2017 ask the expert a sk t h e e x p e rt Q: What are some tried and true ways we can help alleviate minor allergy discomfort at home? Keeping the home sealed can be helpful. This includes keeping the windows closed, as well as avoiding the use of ceiling fans. Watch the pollen levels and avoid outdoor activities when elevated as best you can and venture out after rain when pollen levels temporarily lower. If sneezing with itchy nose and eyes are your primary symptoms, over-the-counter non-sedating antihistamines, like Allegra, may be helpful. However, these do not treat nasal congestion very effectively. For congestion, nasal sprays, such as Flonase, will work better. Q: At what age can children start showing signs of seasonal allergies? Typically a prior season of exposure is required before allergies develop. A child born in March would not develop allergies that summer from grass pollen or in the fall from weed pollen, though they could the following year. Q: At what age can children show signs of food allergies? Food allergies can develop as early as infancy and can manifest in many ways including hives and eczema. Q: What exactly are allergy shots and is it safe to get them while pregnant? With allergy shots, we give patients a serum that is made up of what they are allergic to. Starting at a very small amount, that dose is increased to a level that induces the body to tolerate the allergen. It is very effective for signifi cantly allergic patients when the dose is high enough. It is essential that the dose is appropriate. The guidelines from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommend that this be done in a physician's offi ce. There is a rare risk of anaphylaxis with shots that are appropriately dosed, and because of this we do not start allergy shots on a patient who is pregnant. However, if a patient who is already on allergy shots becomes pregnant, we continue them, though we decrease the dose signifi cantly. For some, springtime is less about warm afternoons at the park and more about afternoons spent inside with runny noses, scratchy throats and watery eyes. With allergy season starting, Mark Wenger, MD.,M.Sc. and Allergy Partners of Fredericksburg offer tips on combating allergies at home, which signs of allergies to look for in your kids and more! INTERVIEWED BY BRENDA SAPANGHILA

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