HEALTH

Pumpkins, pie, and sneezes; allergies are on their way

Aug 23, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:29 pm

Pando aspen grove at Fishlake National Forest...

(tree)

SALT LAKE — Fall is coming, meaning more Utahans are experiencing allergies including sneezing, runny noses and congestion.

The number of people who experience allergies and sensitivities has been increasing over the last several decades, affecting 10% to 30% of the world’s population.

“Allergies are actually caused by our immune system seeing things in the environment that they need to protect us from,” explains Dr. Andrew Smith, allergist-immunologist at Allergy Associates of Utah.

During the fall months, weeds like sagebrush and ragweed create pollen that affects hundreds of residents.

The most common symptoms of allergies and sensitivities include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing

Dr. Smith says there are several ways to mitigate allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Showering or changing clothes after recreating outdoors
  • Wearing glasses or sunglasses outside to keep pollen away from the eyes
  • Using a HEPA air purifier
  • Keeping windows and doors closed to prevent pollen from entering a home
  • Exercising outdoors in the evening when ragweed pollens are lower
  • Taking over-the-counter antihistamines and nose sprays

If symptoms are severe, Dr. Smith says getting an allergy evaluation can help lead to specific medicine to mitigate symptoms, including:

  • Allergy shots
  • Additional medication

“Enjoy the outdoors, we live in a beautiful area. But, create those healthy spaces so that your immune system can get a rest, particularly at night while you are resting.”

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Pumpkins, pie, and sneezes; allergies are on their way