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Nancy Butler, MD, MPH
HFM Otolaryngology


Thanks to a mild winter, spring allergy season has gotten a jump start, overlapping with the cold and flu season. Many people were visiting their doctors’ office with cold or flu symptoms, and finding it was really allergies.

How do you know if it’s allergies?

“The quickest, most inexpensive and most accurate way to find out what you are allergic to, whether it’s pollen, grass, mold or a type of weed, is an allergy skin test,” according to Nancy N. Butler, MD, MPH, HFM Otolaryngology.

The skin is slightly pricked, allowing an allergen to enter the outer layer of skin. After about 15 to 20 minutes, the physician checks for a reaction, such as swelling, redness or hives, which will identify the specific allergen causing the symptoms.

“Once the allergies are determined, I then work with the patient to figure out the best solution to help manage symptoms,” stated Dr. Butler. There are many over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, home and alternative remedies for allergy sufferers to choose from, so it’s important to talk with a physician before beginning your road to allergy relief.

Dr. Butler also suggests trying these other steps to limit springtime allergies: 
  • Take a shower to wash off pollen from hair and skin after coming indoors. 
  • Launder clothes regularly. 
  • Keep windows and doors closed on a nice spring day; that’s when allergen levels peak. 
  • Use a HEPA air filter inside of the home. 
  • Do not air-dry clothes, linens or other items outdoors on a clothesline. 
  • Best days to go outdoors are those immediately following heavy rains.