Allergies don’t decrease with age

If you suffer in the spring, it's important to start treating tree and grass pollen allergies before the season gets really bad. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – The sneezing, the runny nose, the hives — aren’t I too old for this?

Dr. Martha White of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy says she hears this question a lot. But unfortunately, when it comes to allergies, the symptoms don’t discriminate against age.

White explains that everyone is born with the ability to develop an allergy, but the allergy isn’t developed until a person obtains a certain amount of exposure.

“People will move to a new part of the county and in two to three years will start having allergy symptoms, because they have developed allergies to the types of pollen in their new environment,” says White, who adds that the D.C. area is one of the worst cities for allergies.

In addition to taking antihistamines for runny noses and sneezes, there are other steps one can take to keep seasonal allergies under control.

Here are some of White’s suggestions:

  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep the pollen outside.
  • Keep your windows up when you are in the car to prevent the pollen from blowing in.
  • Wipe down your pets when they come inside to prevent them from being “pollen mops.”

CNN Health offers some additional tips for dealing with allergies:

  • Change air filters frequently and invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
  • Check the daily pollen count. If it’s high, you may want to stay inside.
  • After spending time outside, take a shower and change your clothes. This will get the pollen out of your hair and will prevent the pollen from spreading throughout your house.

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