|5 Ways to Control
Still sneezing--even after
seeing the doc?
by Eric Metcalf
In a survey
of 4,000 people with diagnosed allergies, many were still coping with
aggravating symptoms--despite allergy treatments from their family doctor or, in
some cases, an allergist.
"People may not realize that more relief is possible," says lead researcher
David Skoner, MD, chief of allergy and immunology at the Children's Hospital of
Pittsburgh, which sponsored the survey.
"Doctors sometimes don't ask enough questions about symptoms or aren't aware of
the most optimal treatments. Sometimes patients aren't doing enough: They don't
volunteer the right information, or they fail to take doctor-suggested steps
that would help."
Pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, mildew, and pet dander were the most common
allergens reported by study participants. While 80 percent took allergy
medications, one-quarter of those still had stuffed-up noses, sinus pressure,
fatigue, sneezing, or watery eyes, and nearly one-third still had postnasal
If you're suffering from allergies--even after seeing your doc--here are 5
things you might try:
1. Find your allergy triggers.
Note all the details surrounding your allergy flare-ups: where you are, what
you've been doing, what time of day and year it is. Then report them to your
doctor, telling her exactly how the symptoms feel.
2. Change your environment.
Ask your doctor how to minimize exposure to substances that prompt your
flare-ups. Keeping pets out of certain rooms, covering your mattress, or running
the air conditioner to filter out pollens are some commonly used and effective
3. Ask about corticosteroid sprays.
Low-dose prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays can be extremely effective for
relieving chronic congestion with minimal side effects.
4. Get the latest treatment.
Ask your doctor if she's familiar with the state-of-the-art treatment guidelines
of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma, and
Immunology. If she's not, direct her to the website of the
Joint Council of Asthma,
Allergy, and Immunology.
5. Be persistent.
Go back to your family doctor if symptoms don't improve. Or ask for a referral
to an allergist.