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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

What's causing my allergy flare-ups?

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Question
My allergies have flared up in the past few months. They haven’t been this bad since being a kid. My allergy medicine is not effective either. I have tried many antihistamines without much success. Why would they flare up now when nothing external has changed in my environment? Is it my age or could it be hormonal? What could be changing in my body that would cause more histamine in be released? What should I do? Will they continue to get worse? Should I try immunotherapy?
Answer

It is possible to develop new allergic triggers. This happens often in patients that may have moved to a new environment. Also, the intensity of the allergy season can vary from year to year.

If your main symptom is nasal congestion or a stuffy nose, it’s helpful to remember that oral antihistamines may be less effective for these symptoms. They are better for itching and sneezing.

It’s possible this isn’t allergic rhinitis (allergies). It could be non-allergic rhinitis.

A visit with a board-certified allergist and allergy testing to discuss the best treatment option would likely be helpful.

Categories
Allergy, Treatment
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

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