Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re so glad you’re joining us today. We have Dr. Chad Rodgers with us, and we are talking about allergies. I feel like we should move the succulent and just put a box of tissue here. So, allergy season. It is here. It is fast as furious. How do we get through it?

Dr. Chad Rodgers: I know. Well, that’s one of the hardest things about living in Arkansas is that there this is like a very allergenic state. It’s a very allergenic part of the country. It starts you know as early as February and then it can go as late as May and then we have recurrence in June, July. So it’s an all year round thing. People always sort of ask you know like well it’s not really allergy season. It’s always allergy season in Arkansas.

MR: Yeah, it is. I love that because even back in February and March, you know we had quite a bit of rain and so you know that kind of helps kind of wash pollen and get things out, but it doesn’t last forever and they come back.

CR: And actually, it does help. It helps remove a lot of the pollens. But one of the things that happens before a storm, and we all have felt this in our lifetime is there is a front that moves through, and it pushes everything up into the air. So, everything that may have been at rest kind of comes up to the surface and gets stirred up and then the rain comes down and washes that away and it helps. But it also sometimes that’s when you see a lot of exacerbations or when things get worse for patients, and you know people would be complaining about a lot more congestion and people have asthma will have a lot more wheezing, so it helps. But it also kind of stirs things up.

MR: So, let’s talk first about maybe just some over the counter remedies to treat allergies. Um Is there a particular ingredient that we need to look for? Um If we find, gosh I’ve never suffered from allergies before but this year it seems strange, and I need some relief.

CR: Yeah, there is actually a large number of allergy products that are available over the counter. So, you may want to consult with your physician or your primary care provider. Just call their office and say I’m having some allergies. Especially if you’re dealing with Children. You know what’s the safest um sort of antihistamine to use with them. But they are all readily available over the counter. So, um you see Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra. But there’s also a very good generic forms of all of those that are available to talk with your pharmacist when you go in. I think that’s a really good place to start. The other thing that’s readily available now over the counter if you’re having a lot of congestion is like the nasal steroids. So, Flonase, Nasonex, next that kind of stuff. So that may help with a lot with the congestion, and they can be all used safely together. So I think the one thing is that allergy medicines for the most part are very safe. Um If you are dealing with like a younger child or someone who has maybe a blood pressure problem or something like that, you might definitely want to consult with either your pharmacist or your primary care provider.

MR: So, what is that telltale sign of, okay over the counter is not working. I need to go see a primary care physician. What’s that threshold?

CR: I think you know if you start your allergy medicines you get 10 days two weeks into it. It’s probably worth going and talking to your primary care provider if you are someone who it’s beginning to interfere with work or going to school or just daily activities. Or I talk to people who like don’t let their kids go outside at all and the purpose is that your kids can go outside or that you can’t go outside and you can go exercise or do whatever you want to do. So, then you may really want to talk to a specialist. And so those are allergy specialists and that’s when you do allergy testing if you have a dog or a cat or something in your home that you’re kind of wondering am I having allergies because of them before you get rid of the dog or the cat, consult with an allergist, get tested. And then the other option is to do allergy shots, which can actually be, they’re not curative, but they can reduce your symptoms significantly. So, I mean the goal is that you can have as normal life as possible. You can sit out on the deck, hang out with your friends, go hike Pinnacle Mountain, you know? If so that’s when allergies really become a significant problem. If it’s interfering with your life, then you know, see a specialist. See your you know; your primary care doctor is a good place to start.

MR: Can allergies start at any point in our life? It’s not something we’re necessarily born with. You could be an adult and begin to suffer.

CR: So, it can occur anytime in your life. So, you’re like, well I never had allergies before, or you may have lived in the area of low allergens or the thing that you’re allergic to. You may not be having a lot of exposure to. So, they can develop at different times of your life. Food allergy can develop at different times of your life and it’s sometimes trying to identify what that is that’s causing or triggering that allergic reaction.

MR: Nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass? If you can smell it in between grabbing tissues.

CR: Yeah, if it doesn’t make your eyes burn and your nose run. Yeah.

MR: Alright. Dr. Chad anything else that we need to know when it comes to getting through the Spring Summer allergy season. You get to wait and go through it again in the fall.

CR: Well, I think one thing too you know people often start and want to know about you know natural ways to prevent. So, there are ways to help with allergies. So, people look at things like honey if you have locally made honey. If we’re older adults, not for children. You want to be careful with children but that will help reduce your allergies and just like good old saline rinses. Like if you can do it where you take the saltwater mix it helps a lot to get through them.

MR: If you can do it.

CR: You got to take a deep breath and after a while most people say I actually they look forward to it. It’s like because they know they can go and rinse your sinuses out and get rid of some of those allergens. But there’s a lot of natural ways to kind of also prevent or to help ameliorate or make better allergy symptoms.

MR: Good. That’s always a great alternative. Yeah, for sure. Okay Dr. Rodgers thanks so much for joining us.