Ah spring, the season of baseball and the rebirth of the land.
It's also the season for burning, itching eyes, sinus drainage, sinus pressure, runny noses and other symptoms of allergies.
With the onset of spring, many people will begin their annual battle with allergies.
A number of things can cause allergies to flare up. Besides pollen from blooming trees and plants, allergies to cats, dogs, dust mites and other sources can be source of irritation, said Debbie McGraw, director of Pratt County Public Health.
Dry weather and wet weather can also be a problem and result in sinus infections. From dust to pollen to mites to mold, a number of things can cause allergy issues.
If allergies are a chronic problem, injections are available through the health department to help ease the suffering.
Allergies can lead to more serious problems. Asthma can develop and lead to in home treatments such as inhalers or antihistamines.
Patients can get immunotherapy throughout the year. Shots can be given weekly or monthly depending on the person.
But before anyone goes running to the health department to get an injection, they need to go see a doctor first. The health department can only give a treatment after they have received the medicine from a doctor.
A patient must first visit a health professional like an otolaryngologist, a technical name for an eye, ears, nose and throat specialist also known as an ENT, to be diagnosed.
Then the doctor has to prepare the medicine and send it to the health department so they can administer the injection, McGraw said.
Patients can't get injections just anywhere. They are limited to only one spot in town.
"We're the only ones in town that can administer those injections," McGraw said.
Currently, the health department is seeing about 30 patients for allergies.
Cost of an individual shot is $22 while multiple shots are available for $25. Unfortunately, for those 65 and older, Medicare will not cover the injections so the patient will have to pay for the treatments.
While some allergies are unavoidable, patients can take action to help alleviate the source of the problem.
If a person is allergic to pets, it may be necessary to get rid of the pet. If dust is an issue, carpets may have to go because they can harbor a lot of material. Bare floors are easier to clean and can be cleaned with a broom or wet mop.
Feather pillows can also be a source of irritation as well as books that can harbor dust that can trigger an allergy response, McGraw said.
Page 2 of 2 - In the bedroom, routinely wash the mattress cover and mattress pad every week. This will help reduce the problems with dust mites.
When vacuuming, use a cleaner with a hepa filter instead of a bag. When a cleaner with a bag is turned on it will spread dust and cause breathing problems.
Also when cleaning, use "green" products that are environmentally friendly.
Personal hygiene is also important to cut down on allergens.