Allergy sufferer reaches for longer-term relief - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Allergy sufferer reaches for longer-term relief

Over-the-counter remedies may work in the short-term, but do you know what's really causing your sniffles? (Source: WAFF) Over-the-counter remedies may work in the short-term, but do you know what's really causing your sniffles? (Source: WAFF)

It's that time of year again - we're heading toward peak pollen season, despite not seeing it accumulate on any outdoor surface.

Even on the best of days, those suffering from allergies would argue those days are anything but. Many are on the inside looking out. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Allergists here in north Alabama know the struggle that many of you face this time of year, from nasal congestion to irritating eyes. 

Currently, tree pollen is the prevalent allergen - cedar, pine, elm are all pollinating even though we don't see the yellow stuff everywhere, which Dr. Shashi Kumar says is not directly harmful, but it's the most visible.

"Pine pollen is already in the air, but it's not heavy and why we're not seeing it on the ground," said Dr. Kumar. "Peak pollination time is between 5-10 in the morning, and the pollen counts are higher when it's dry and windy."

There are many over-the-counter remedies to combat allergy symptoms - but one woman we spoke with is opting for a more long-term solution.

"I'm allergic to all kinds of grasses, and mainly to the ash tree," said Ola Myszka.

Unlike many allergy patients, Myszka knows the allergen behind her symptoms, so she receives a shot which is a natural vaccination, as opposed to over-the-counter treatments one normally reaches for at the pharmacy.

"When I started my shots, it really helped me. I can actually function in the spring, and before, I was really miserable," she said.

So often, people confuse sinuses and sinusitis - a non allergic issue with allergy-like symptoms, so doctors use a simple environmental allergens test to figure out exactly the cause of your running nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and nasal congestion, in order to properly treat you.

Dr. Kumar says shots customized for your specific allergy are the best "cure" to date, and certainly more effective than not treating the symptoms at all. 

The treatment is working for Myszka.

"If I can't function, really can't breathe and my eyes are watery. It works for me and I go through the box of Kleenex a day. It definitely works for me," Myszka said.

Dr. Kumar encourages you to get treated before the season gets into full swing.

Click here for information on allergen conditions in the Huntsville area.

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