School is back in session and Chattanoogans are hopeful that cooler temperatures and football tailgates are just around the corner. However, before all the fall festivities begin, it's time to start getting ready to beat the season's nasty allergens.
"Once kids are back in school for about three or four weeks, we start to see a huge increase of asthma attacks," said Dr. Todd Levin, with Chattanooga Allergy Clinic. "Ragweed is out, they're getting exposed to mold, roaches in some cases and all those new viruses that they've been free from all summer. It's important to get treated early and be on the right medications to prevent serious reactions."
He noted that during the beginning of the school year, ER visits for children with asthma become ore common due to all these refreshed triggers the children are coming in contact with.
"You should certainly start treating the problem before symptoms occur, if possible," Dr. Levin said. "Once your symptoms are there, the cat's out of the bag, so to speak, and it can be a little more difficult to get it under control."
The best way to help prevent such visits and severe reactions is to see your local allergist right away for testing and to be sure all medications are up to date, he said.
"With fall, we also start dealing with ragweed," added Dr. Levin. "The biggest symptoms for those affected by the plant are nasal congestion, watery and itchy eyes."Again, he stressed that the key to not letting the ragweed season get you down is starting treatment as early as possible.
"For those who can start three to four months before the season hits, we have a new oral medication that's very effective," he said. "Ragweed typically begins in our area August 15, give or take a week, and runs until the first frost of the season."
Dr. Levin says the most successful treatment -- and the ultimate goal for those with allergies -- is allergy shots. Using the shots to retrain the patient's immune system provides relief that ill last 30-40 years versus oral and over-the-counter medications that only allow the body to tolerate the allergens and their triggers.
"You should start your regular meds if you have them and be seen by your allergist so we an develop a customized treatment plan," said Dr. Levin. "If you're super-allergic, we need to start on shots and desensitize patients from the allergens to prevent serious reactions and maybe even cure the allergies completely."
As the leaves begin to fall later in the season, locals will also start dealing with mold allergies, he added. "Wet leaves and mulch all start to produce higher mold spore counts which can give people a lot of trouble," Dr. Levin said.
There are tips and helpful hints available for these seasonal troubles and much more at chattanoogaallergyclinic.com and on the practice's Facebook page. Chattanooga Allergy Clinic treats all types of allergic disorders and problems.
Chattanooga Allergy Clinic has five offices with seven providers in and around Chattanooga. For more information about summer allergies or to find an office near you, visit chattanoogaallergyclinic.com or call 423-899-0431.