Pollen. Ragweed. Cedar. Oh my! {What your Family Can do to Treat Allergies}

The flowers are blooming, the bluebonnet photos are everywhere, and I can’t breathe through my nose. It’s the magical time of year where we can wear shorts {finally!} and my grass is green again, but two days after the yard guys come, my driveway is full of the dreaded pollen. Dr. Robbyn Traylor, Chief Medical Officer of Next Level Urgent Care, is a 6th generation Texan who was raised in Fort Bend County who knows our pain. “Around 30% of Americans, and I’m sure more than half of Houstonians, suffer with seasonal allergy symptoms.”

If your family is like mine, we can’t afford any more days off school or work, thanks to Harvey, snow days, Mercury in retrograde, and the insane flu season. In order to be proactive, Dr Traylor recommends checking with your pediatricians about an allergy action plan. There are specific cases your doctor may consider more aggressive prescription regimens or refer you to an allergy specialist, but most likely, they will recommend some over-the-counter remedies that work well for young children. Dr Traylor recommends these OTC’s for daily use ::

Most patients tolerate daily antihistamine medication very well.  This is particularly true of second-generation therapies like Claritin and Zyrtec.  First-generation therapies like Benadryl oftentimes cause sleepiness, or in some very special patients the exact opposite effect of insomnia with hyperactivity.  Patients who suffer with severe allergies may be advised to take newer antihistamine therapies like Claritin in the daytime and Benadryl at nighttime.  If patients require additional therapies we sometimes recommend nasal steroid sprays which are generally very safe.  

The warmer weather means more outdoor time, playing at the playground or kicking a soccer ball around. My kids love riding their bikes around our neighborhood and around the trails at Brazos Bend State Park. If you or your kids have severe allergies or asthma, Dr. Traylor recommends that you avoid excessive exposure to the great outdoors. “However, if your children suffer with typical runny nose, itchy eyes, and mild cough caused by post-nasal drip you should absolutely allow them to play outside.  The key is to prepare for the impending allergic response by pre-medicating with a daily antihistamine.”

Allergies and colds can trick us, though, because the symptoms and treatments are very similar. Dr Traylor states, “One way to know the difference is to check for fever or chills; those are symptoms that are more consistent with a cold.  Not all common cold patients are going to have a fever, but almost all will feel “hot” and have cold chills.  Allergies don’t usually cause high fever, but some patients will suffer with low-grade “hay fever” which is a temperature measurement typically under 101 F. Allergies cause itching at the eyes, nose and throat which is not the usual complaint we get from our upper respiratory infection patients.  Sore throat can be a consequence of post-nasal drip which is caused by allergies and colds, but the inflammation from a cold is usually more intense.  Allergies and colds can zap your energy leaving you feeling like a certified couch potato.”

There are some at-home remedies for allergic conjunctivitis, or allergies in the eyes. Traylor says her favorite over-the-counter therapies are :: “Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra.  I generally tell patients to pick the cheapest one and try it for a week to see if it makes a difference.  If not, try a new medication.” For more natural remedies, Traylor prescribes a daily teaspoon of local honey, which has a similar effect to allergy shots/drops. She also says apple cider vinegar boosts immunity and the Netti pot is good ritual for washing out the sinuses and reducing allergy symptoms.” Check out more natural remedies here

So are we destined to be miserable every spring? “Yes and no,” Dr Traylor says. “In some instances, allergy shots or drops can reduce or eliminate your response to allergens.  While it isn’t necessarily a cure, you can be tested for your allergies and be exposed to a very low dose of your allergens so your body can prepare antibodies.”

 Thankfully our friends at Next Level Urgent Care and their 10 convenient Houston locations are here if we get overwhelmed with sick patients. I can’t afford a day off, so I know that when my regular doctors are closed, I can swing by the Katy or Long Meadow location to get me back on my feet. Their regular tips and tricks on HMB can help us get through this gorgeous, allergen-filled Spring!

Next Level Urgent Care will soon be adding two additional locations in the Greater Houston area. The Woodlands location opens in May of 2018 and the downtown Katy location opens June 2018.

 

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About Robbyn L. Traylor, MD

Robbyn is a 6th generation Texan who was raised in Fort Bend county. She graduated from Kempner High School in 1997, and matriculated to Prairie View A&M University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. After this she attended the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine where she graduated in 2005. Dr. Traylor attended the Wesley Family Medicine residency program, and is now a board-certified family physician. During her professional career, she has gained experience in primary care, emergency medicine, and immediate care. Dr. Traylor has worked for Next Level Urgent Care since Spring of 2014 and now serves as Chief Medical Officer. She is grateful for the opportunity to provide quality care for patients of all ages in the greater Houston area. In her spare time Dr. Traylor enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family. 


 

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