How Are Summer Allergies Diagnosed?
Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and your allergy history. He may suggest allergy treatments. In some cases, he may refer you to an allergy specialist who may do a skin test, which exposes the skin of your arm or back to a tiny sample of allergen. If you’re allergic to a substance, a small red bump will form. A blood test can also diagnose allergies.
How Are Summer Allergies Treated?
Over-the-counter allergy treatments include:
If over-the-counter remedies don’t help, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication:
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs) such as Singulair
- Atrovent (ipratropium bromide) nasal spray
- Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots or oral tablets or drops
To treat insect stings or bites:
- For a severe allergic reaction, use an epinephrine injection kit (called SIE or self-injectable epinephrine) if you have it, and call 911 immediately. Always carry two doses with you if you're at risk for a severe allergic reaction.
- For local reactions, apply ice to the bite area to reduce swelling. For stings you should remove the stinger.
- Try a pain reliever, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil, Motrin (ibuprofen).
- Use a topical cream, such as hydrocortisone, to ease pain and itching. Calamine creams also help with itching.
- Use oral antihistamines (Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, or Zyrtec) for itching.
How to Deal With Summer Allergies
Here are tips to help you avoid summer allergy triggers.
- Try to stay indoors whenever the pollen count and smog is high.
- Keep your doors and windows closed and air condition on whenever possible to keep allergens out. Use an air purifier.
- Clean air filters in your home often. Clean bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen can collect.
- Wash bedding and rugs in hot water to eliminate dust mites and other allergens.
- Wash your hair, shower, and change clothing after going outside to wash away pollen.
- Vacuum often. Wear a mask, because vacuuming can kick up pollen, mold, and dust trapped in your carpet. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Wear a mask when you mow your lawn to avoid grass pollen.
- Keep the humidity in your house between 30% and 50% to prevent the growth of dust mites.