Allergies 101: Tips to help you survive the season

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- If you have seasonal allergies, chances are they've been flaring up in a big way over the past several weeks. And with the amazing weather Mother Nature has bestowed on us, there's no end in sight.

Dr. Angela DeRosa shared some insights and tips to help you survive this brutal allergy season.

First-borns tend to suffer worse allergy symptoms than younger siblings.

Take medication at night so you'll feel better in the morning.

Keep plants outside.

Allergens are not just inhaled. "The gut holds a real key to our immunity so everything we eat and process goes through our gut, which can also allow allergic stimulation to come into the gut and create more symptoms," DeRosa explained.

You can't become immune to allergy medications like antihistamines and decongestants. That said. be cautious of Afrin nasal sprays.

"You should only use those for a few days at a time," DeRosa said.

While that kind of decongestant spray is not addictive like a narcotic is, the body can become dependent on it. The positive effects of the spray decrease and the congestion worsens with extended use. Basically rebound congestion causes your sinus membranes to swell, making it difficult to breathe.The medical term for this is rhinitis medicamentosa.

If nothing eases your allergy symptoms, give your doctor a call because there might be something else going on.

"You may have an underlying infection that's making things worse," DeRosa said, explaining that a doctor also can help you explore other treatment options.

Put together and carry an allergy survival kit

  • Cortisone cream
  • Nasacort allergy spray
  • Eye drops to combat redness, itchiness
  • Antihistamine and/or decongestant (They can work together.)
  • Wear a medical band if you have severe allergies
  • Inhaler
  • EpiPen