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Allergy season is coming
Commonly called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, a seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for part of the year, such as spring or fall.
Pollens and dust spread by the wind are usually the main cause of seasonal allergies. People who are allergic to pollen are also often sensitive to mold, ragweed, dust mites and animal dander. About 26 million Americans suffer from chronic seasonal allergies, while the number of people with milder symptoms may be as high as 40 million, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Seasonal allergies can develop at any stage of a person’s life, but they typically develop in the preteen years. Studies indicate that seasonal allergies are equally present in males and females and that no culture or ethnicity is more prone than any other. However, seasonal allergies appear to run in families and likely have a strong genetic factor.
Most symptoms become apparent within minutes of exposure to the allergens and typically include sneezing, dry and unproductive coughing, wheezing, itchy throat, swollen sinuses leading to a stuffy nose and headaches, a runny nose, itching, watery and red eyes, reduced sense of smell and taste and disturbed sleep.
While there are many Western medications to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, these treatments can cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness and immune system suppression, as well as an over-reliance on medications. These side effects have drawn many people to search for an alternative approach, such as acupuncture, to manage their allergies.
One study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that acupuncture can significantly relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms. Acupuncture points relating to the sinuses are treated and the result for some patients is immediate and dramatic.
Some patients will even notice sinus drainage beginning before the first treatment is completed. This drainage will usually continue until the sinus pressure is gone, how long that is will depend on how long the sinus pressure has been present, but for most people it is 1-3 days.
With repeated treatments the patient will see a decrease in the severity of their response to allergens.
Some of my patients have stated that they can now mow their yard with little to no allergic response when previously they would have suffered for days.
Acupuncture treatment takes around 30 minutes and during that time the patient simply sets back or lays down and relaxes. While some people may be apprehensive about any treatment that involves needles, the needles used in acupuncture are extremely small and many patients say that they don’t feel them at all.
Treatment is repeated weekly until symptoms have decreased. Then treatments will begin to be done with less frequency, typically to once a month or as needed.
Dr. Overmiller practices at Childress Specific Chiropractic, 210 Commerce in Childress, 940-937-6600.