published Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Ask a doctor: Why are my allergies bothering me so much this year?

Dr. Curt Chaffins

Q. Why are my allergies bothering me so much this year?

A. If you have had a runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes recently, then you may be experiencing the effects of the ragweed season. We have had a very wet summer, which will contribute to many weeds pollinating fairly heavily this fall. If you have asthma, you may find your asthma is more difficult to control during this period. Minimizing exposure to your relevant allergens is the first step in treatment and can be difficult. Showering after long exposures may be a good first step to reducing the problems; it should be emphasized, however, that this step is for those who are weed allergic. It is sometimes difficult to know if you are allergic to ragweed or have other causes for your nose or eye symptoms. Your allergist will be able to help you sort between these causes using a thorough history, physical exam and skin testing. Then an appropriate treatment plan can be put in place, giving you some relief so you can get out and enjoy the wonderful Chattanooga fall weather.

— Dr. Curt Chaffins, The Allergy Asthma Group, member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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