TODAY | March 14, 2012
>>> we're back now at 7:43. this morning on today's health, the early arrival of spring allergies. you may be enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. if you are one of the 45 million americans who suffers from allergies it comes at a price. dr. raj is here with advice on how to cope. she's the contributing medical editor at health magazine. nice to see you.
>> nice to see you.
>> enjoying the 70s in new york?
>> it 's wonderful .
>> not only have allergy symptoms come early, they are worse this year than ever. why is that?
>> as you said, it's warm. so the trees are releasing pollen at higher counts. people aren't prepared because the trick with allergies is getting the medicine in before the pollen comes out. because this weather came out of nowhere, no one was prepared. they are not medicated and they are feeling the effects.
>> you have allergy sufferers praying for a cold snap early in spring. would that change it or is the cat out of the bag already?
>> it's too late. once the pollen is released, even if it gets cold it's too late. your body has been triggered to that response.
>> for people at home now saying, i don't have allergies, this doesn't effect me you can develop allergies at any age.
>> i myself only developed them last year. i never had them before. absolutely. it could come at any time.
>> in terms of who's susceptible, who is susceptible to them?
>> if you have a family history. if one or both parents have allergies you are more likely to develop them. if you have a food allergy , you're more likely to develop these allergiallergies.
>> you have people saying, do i have a cold or am i an allergy sufferer? the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies are what?
>> the runny, itchy nose. itchy, watery eyes. sometimes a scratchy throat. sometimes you get dark circles under your eyes. this can happen with a cold, but a cold lasts for only a week. if it persists, more likely to be an allergy. if it's a fever, it's more likely a cold.
>> there are over-the-counter remedies and prescriptions as well. we have some medications on the table.
>> you start with over-the-counter. you have the anti-histamine either eye drops or pills you can take. things like claritin and xyrtec. you need to talk about getting tested to determine what you're allergic to. is it tree pollen, grass pollen. what's going on.
>> and behavioral things you can do to leave yat symptoms. check the pollen count . limit outdoor activities . keep your house and car windows closed. not easy. shower and change clothes after being outside.
>> the pollen is sticking to your hair, skin, clothes. wash your hair. wash your clothes. wash your bedding and pillows frequently so they are not exposed.
>> and save your outdoor activities and exercise for the afternoon. why is that better than morning?
>> pollen counts are highest early morning . if you really suffer you may want to leave the gardening and weeding to someone else.
>> doctor, good to see you.