Answering your questions about allergies

Answering your questions about allergies.

Syracuse is being called the third worst city in the country for allergies this spring (according to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America) and our Monday Answer Desk fielded lots of your calls with concerns.

Spring is one of the tough times for allergy sufferers, but it's not so much because the flowers are in bloom: they are pollinated mostly by insects. The real culprits are grasses, and big trees like oaks and ashes, which depend on the wind to blow their pollen around. Those winds also blow the pollen to us, making for itchy eyes and runny noses.

Plants are not the only allergy culprits. Dr. Richard Sheehan, with Allergy, Asthma and Rheumatology Associates, says food allergies can also be a threat. In children, the most common sources are soy, wheat, egg, milk and peanut. For adults, it's peanut, nut, fish and shellfish. Sheehan says that people with true food allergies face life threatening risks, and should always carry an epi-pen, to inject life saving epinephrine.

Mold is also an allergy source, most commonly outdoor mold that found in fallen leaves and grass clippings.

Indoors, dust mites are a major threat. Dr. Joseph Flanagan, with Allergy & Asthma Associates, says theye're miroscopic, and survive by eating our shed skin. One way to cut the allergy threat is to put dust covers on mattresses (where they thrive), and wash sheets in very hot water weekly.

While our whole panel recommended getting medical help to establish allergy causes and to set up treatment, we know many people avoid doctors because they want to avoid allergy shots as a cure.
However, there are less invasive treatments. Respiratory Therapist Joseph Nicoletti, RN from Franciscan Health says alternatives to needles include nebulizers that help get medication into the system.

Our Answer Desk call-ins continue next Monday with experts on Lyme Disease answering your questions.

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