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Things to Know about Allergies

Advice from Dr. Cynthia E. Collings

Spring brings blooming trees, warmer winds, and loads of pollen. If you have allergies, and many of us do – it’s the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.1 – the sneezing, runny nose, and puffy eyes are telltale signs that pollen is in the air.

Seasonal allergy symptoms, known as hay fever, often peak during spring, summer, and fall when pollen counts are high. On the other hand, perennial allergies persist year-round and are caused by sensitivity to allergens like dust mites, pet dander, insect dust, or mold. Both seasonal and perennial allergens trigger allergic rhinitis.

Allergy symptoms (allergic rhinitis) are among the most common conditions MDLIVE doctors treat, so we asked Dr. Cynthia E. Collins, MDLIVE Clinical Medical Director, to share her advice on what causes allergies and treatment options for nagging or worsening symptoms.

What causes allergic rhinitis (allergy symptoms)?
With seasonal allergies, the most common trigger is tiny pollen grains released into the air from grasses and trees. When pollen enters your nose, your immune system views these grains as ‘invaders’ and goes into protective mode. You produce antibodies to attack the allergens, which leads to a release of chemicals called ‘histamines’ into your bloodstream. Those histamines trigger allergy symptoms, like sneezing, a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and even hives. Lowering your exposure to pollen can help reduce your symptoms.

Common symptoms of allergies.
Allergy symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Still, most people will say they feel “congested,” which can be an uncomfortable symptom that impacts your day-to-day activities, energy, and sleep. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Itchy, water eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny of stuffy nose
  • Rash or hives
  • Wheezing

View the full article, Allergy symptoms: important things to know.

If you experience new symptoms, don’t guess whether it’s allergies or something more. Talk to an MDLIVE board-certified doctor for more than 80 common medical conditions. Virtual Visits is a feature provided by MDLIVE through your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) health plan. To use MDLIVE, go to https://mdlive.com/bcbstx and activate your account.

You can also download the MDLIVE app on your phone. Get the app: search for MDLIVE in the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

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