Health Services

Where to Find Us

Location: OPS-126


Fall 2019-Spring2020
Mon. - Thurs. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm*
Friday by appointment only

*Hours subject to change without notice.

Phone: (916) 691-7584
Fax: (916) 691-7330

Allergy Season

Allergy Season

Allergy Season


Allergic Rhinitis, Hay Fever, Seasonal Allergies – Oh My!

Even though the flu season is coming to an end, relief is not yet in store for the almost 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies.  The reason for the sniffle season? According to ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) hardwood deciduous trees, such as maple, oak, elm, and birch pollinate in some regions beginning in February.

What is an allergy?
You have an allergy when your body overreacts to things that don't cause problems for most people. These things are called allergens. Your body's overreaction to the allergens is what causes symptoms.

What is hay fever?
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis (say: “rine-EYE-tis”), is an allergic reaction to pollen. Symptoms of hay fever are seasonal, meaning you will feel worse when the pollens that affect you are at their highest levels. Hay fever is the most common form of allergy. It affects 1 in 5 people.

What are common allergy symptoms?
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of your allergies. Symptoms can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itching (mostly eyes, nose, mouth, throat and skin)
  • Runny nose/Stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Pressure in the nose and cheeks , Ear fullness and popping
  • Sore throat
  • Watery, red or swollen eyes or dark circles under your eyes
  • Hives

How are allergies treated?
Several medicines can be used to treat allergies. Your doctor will help you determine what medicine is best for you depending on your symptoms, age and overall health. These medicines are more useful if you use them before you're exposed to allergens.

Antihistamines help reduce the sneezing, runny nose and itchiness of allergies. They're more useful if you use them before you're exposed to allergens. Some antihistamines come in pill form (some brand names: Zyrtec, Claritin) and some are nasal sprays (one brand name: Astelin). Ask your doctor which kind is best for you.

Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, help temporarily relieve the stuffy nose of allergies. Decongestants are found in many medicines and come as pills, nose sprays and nose drops (some brand names: Sudafed, Afrin). They are best used only for a short time.

Nose sprays and drops shouldn't be used for more than 3 days because you can become dependent on them. This causes you to feel even more stopped-up when you try to quit using them.

You can buy decongestants without a doctor's prescription. However, decongestants can raise your blood pressure, so it's a good idea to talk to your family doctor before using them, especially if you have high blood pressure.

Stay indoors during the pollen seasons. Close windows and doors. Stay away from yard work. Use mask to cover nostrils if you are outside gardening. Prevention is better than cure so limiting your time outside during the peak pollen season might be helpful.

Nasal steroid sprays reduce the reaction of the nasal tissues to inhaled allergens. This helps relieve the swelling in your nose so that you feel less stopped-up. They are the most effective at treating patients who have chronic symptoms Nasal steroid sprays are available with a prescription from your doctor. You won't notice their benefits for up to 2 weeks after starting them.

Eye drops. If your other medicines are not helping enough with your itchy, watery eyes, your doctor may prescribe eye drops for you.

When should I see a doctor?
If your symptoms interfere with your life, consider seeing your family doctor. Your doctor will probably do a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms. Keeping a record of your symptoms over a period of time can help your doctor determine what triggers your allergies.