By Katy Siwirski

Spring time has arrived, and seasonal allergies are in full swing. This is a difficult time for everyone who experiences these problems, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. I am here to remind sufferers of tips and techniques to help with your allergies, as well as relate to those who experience the same issues. Remember, although we are in allergy season, individuals have allergies that they deal with on a daily basis. I conducted an interview with four people in my life to grasp an understanding of this potentially life-threatening concern, if not managed properly. I asked my candidates what their allergies are, what they use to prevent them, how the discovered they have them, and what they suggest for further prevention.

The first person I interviewed was one of the company’s interns, Lauren. She is allergic to tree grass and wheat pollen, and has known of these “forever.” When she experiences these elements, she sneezes and gets puffy eyes. She used to take a prescription for these symptoms, but no longer takes it. She would also take either Flonase or Nasonex twice a day. These are two different nasal sprays used to relieve symptoms. Benadryl helps at night, whereas Zyrtec helps during the day. She recommends taking medication that is accepted by your insurance company, for the sake of affordability. She also recommends hand washing, gargling salt water, and saline solution. For cat allergies, her best advice is simply to stay away. Overall, Lauren appears to be successfully treating her allergies.

The next person I interviewed was my sister-in-law, Jenna. She is allergic to pollen, all animals with fur and feathers, tree nuts, and shellfish. She takes Claritin daily, as well as Benadryl for severe reactions. She takes a Proventil inhaler as needed, too. She discovered she has allergies when she had an asthma attack from dogs and cats. She discovered her food allergies when her eyes and throat swelled shut from the reaction. Fortunately, there are benefits to having pet allergies. There are hypoallergenic animals, and she took advantage of this opportunity by adopting one. Jenna and my brother have owned their adorable puppy Benny for almost 3 years, and life sure is swell! Jenna suggests to those with food allergies to prepare before going out to eat at a restaurant. Check the menu for the foods you are allergic to, and avoid them accordingly. For other allergies, make sure you take your medication. Overall, Jenna’s life with allergies isn’t too shabby, and quite a bit furry.

The next person I interviewed was my dad, Jim. He is allergic to cats, pollen, and ragweed. He states that “I will only take something if they get really bad. As I have gotten older, they do not affect me as much. Claratin would be my medication of choice.” He also takes a daily multi-vitamin, and states that this seems to help. He can be around our cats, as long as he doesn’t pet them for much more than thirty seconds. Our cats are cuddlers, so when they hop up on his lap, they don’t get to stay up very long. In terms of pollen and ragweed, he simply states that avoiding these factors helps prevent them. He discovered he had allergies when he was four years old. His best tip of advice is mind over matter; not thinking about your allergies helps you control them. Although I hear my dad sneeze a lot, he lives a generally content life with his allergies.

The final person I interviewed was my best friend’s mom, June. She experiences seasonal allergies, which include pollen, trees, grass, wet leaves, and mold. She is also allergic to cats, dogs, and bees. She discovered these allergies when she was a child. When she was younger, she got stung by a bee and almost died. She was taken to an allergist, where she discovered the reasoning. When she was a child, she used to get allergy shots. As she grew older, her allergies didn’t seem to bother her as much. She used to take Benadryl, but did not like the drowsy side effects. She began taking a prescription medication called XYZal. After that stopped working, she began taking an over-the-counter medication Clor-tab. She states that it helps a lot. The best way to prevent these allergies is to simply avoid the factors, all together. Overall, June lives a happy life with her family, and does not notice her allergies.

To say the least, allergies are not the most pleasurable experience for those who suffer from them. Based on my research, the younger candidates that I interviewed have more problems maintaining their allergies, and ensure to take their medication on a daily basis. The older candidates that I interviewed treated their allergies at a young age, experiencing relief as they continued to get older, ultimately tending to forget about the problem, all together. Take the right steps in treating your allergies now, and they will likely get better and easier to maintain, over time.

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