Allergies making you miserable?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

If you’re experiencing congestion, a runny nose, itchy eyes, or have difficulty breathing, you’re not alone. About 20% of people of all ages have hay fever, which is an allergic reaction to pollen that involves the nose, and about 8% have asthma. 

Common causes of allergic rhinitis are pollens, insects, animals, and molds. The first course of treatment is to avoid whatever is triggering allergy symptoms:

Seasonal allergens

  • Check the pollen counts and stay inside on bad days.
  • Use a HEPA filter at home.
  • Keep home and car windows shut on high pollen days.
  • Vacuum frequently.
  • Shower and rinse your eyes and nose after spending time outdoors. Pollen sticks to hair and clothes.

Dust mites

  • Use dust mite barriers on bedding and furniture.
  • Keep home humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. Monitors are available at hardware stores. Avoid humidifiers that can make the problem worse.

Animal dander

  • Avoid dogs, cats, rodents, birds and ferrets, which all may trigger allergy symptoms, until you know which animal is the source of your symptoms.
  • Keep the animal away from allergic people or confined to (or from) certain rooms.
  • Vacuum using a cleaner with a HEPA filter.

If symptoms are persistent despite taking over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines, you might need to see a doctor. Your doctor may be able to help you identify the source of your allergies and help you improve avoidance of the source by better understanding the pattern of your symptoms.  You might be prescribed an additional medication including a nasal spray or eye drops to alleviate the symptoms.

Allergy tests

Allergy testing is rarely necessary unless you plan on moving away from the pollens, eliminating an animal from your environment, or need immunotherapy (allergy shots).  Most Premera health plans offer coverage for tests when medically necessary. Talk to your primary care doctor if you have concerns.

Get care now

If your plan covers Teladoc® services, you can get allergies diagnosed without leaving home. Visit Teladoc or open your Premera mobile app to get started. Teladoc doctors can also diagnose skin reactions. 

Popular Articles