In this article, we will discuss the common allergens in Oklahoma. We also cover the treatment options that are available to patients. Hopefully, this information can help you get rid of allergies.
Recently, Tulsa and Oklahoma City respectively ranked as the 5th and 4th most challenging U.S. cities to live in with seasonal allergies. The list was created by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to seeking cures and treatments for asthma and allergies. Unsurprisingly, our not too distant neighbors, Wichita, Kansas and Dallas, Texas ranked as number 1 and 2 on the same list. While our region seems to be more heavily plagued by allergies, we are far from alone. In fact, more than 25% of Americans, regardless of age, suffer from at least 1 allergy according to the CDC. However, it is not all doom and gloom. Let’s walk through the treatment options for the allergens that irritate Oklahomans the most.
Keep Ragweed Allergies from Falling On You
The most common allergen in Oklahoma is ragweed. If you have ever had issues with allergies in late summer or fall, chances are ragweed was the culprit. Affecting more than 23 million Americans, its effects are most intense in the mid September. However, people can be afflicted with symptoms from August to November.
These symptoms can range from a headache to a runny nose. It should be noted that many of the symptoms are similar to ones caused by other irritants. Rhinitis can be triggered by ragweed as well. This condition is also referred to as hay fever. Furthermore, this common irritant can exacerbate symptoms of asthma. Asthma can negatively impact your sleep, work and overall well being. As such, it is gravely important that the effects of ragweed are nipped in the bud through proper treatment.
Ragweed Allergy Symptoms
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Irritated eyes
- Itchy throat
A range of treatment options exist for ragweed. One option is immunotherapy. A prescription for sublingual tablets can be given as defense. Also, allergy shots could help fortify your body against the ill effects of the pollen. Another treatment option for the weed is antihistamines and other allergy medicines. Your doctor may recommend locally sourced honey as well.
Ragweed Allergy Treatments
- Allergy Medications
Integrative Allergy Treatments
- Nasal Irrigation with Saline
- Locally Sourced Honey
Cut Down the Effects of Grass Allergies
Summers in Oklahoma can be very hot. Temperatures can reach as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with this season’s heat, comes grass allergies. As grasses begin to pollinate, individuals can come into contact with the pollen produced. Unfortunately, for many people, this may stimulate an allergic reaction. That may seem like enough. However, it doesn’t stop there.
The state of Oklahoma is quite windy. It consistently ranks in the top 10 windiest states. How is this related to allergies? Pollen is often spread by the blow of wind. Therefore, the more airflow there is, the more dispersed grass pollen will be. This leads to more allergy symptoms. Symptoms of grass pollen allergies may include responses like red, watery eyes and nasal congestion.
Grass Allergy Symptoms
- Nasal Congestion
- Red, Watery Eyes
- Runny Nose (Nasal Drainage)
- Itchy Nose
- Facial Pressure
Although grass pollen allergies can be quite irritating, there are alleviating treatment solutions. Consulting with a medical doctor will help you find the best option. Possible options range from home remedies and over-the-counter medications to prescriptions. Decongestants, antihistamines and corticosteroids may help provide you with relief. They directly deal with symptoms. Plus, they tend to offer more immediate relief. Additionally, your doctor could prescribe sublingual tablets or shots as forms of immunotherapy. Sinus and nasal rinses like neti pots act as helpful home remedies. These methods of nasal irrigation flush irritants from nasal passages and help you get rid of allergies.
Grass Allergy Treatments
- Allergy Shots
- Sublingual Allergy Tablets
- Nasal Steroid Sprays
Chop Down Oak Tree Allergies
The 1st onset of allergies for the year are often triggered by tree pollen. That is due to the fact that trees can start pollinating as soon as January. This is especially true for southern states like Oklahoma. So, from late winter until June, they can present problems for those with tree allergies. For Oklahoma in particular, oak tree pollen is one of the most responsible allergens.
Just 3 months ago, an alarming report was released. It stated that there was an ‘extreme exposure situation’ for oak tree pollen in Oklahoma. Allergic reactions to oak tree pollen vary in scope and severity. Some people may experience coughing and wheezing. Itchiness and soreness of the throat are common as well.
Oak Tree Allergy Symptoms
- Itchiness – Eyes, Nose, Throat, Roof of the Mouth
- Sinus Pain/ Pressure
Treatment options for oak tree allergies are numerous. Options may include prescriptions like Leukotriene inhibitors and immunotherapy injections or tablets. Also, over-the-counter medications may help ease adverse reactions. Over-the-counter medications like antihistamines and nasal sprays tend to be fast acting. Scheduling a meeting with a healthcare provider is always best practice. This will help you choose the treatment most suitable for you. Your doctor can create an action plan to help you get rid of allergies.
Oak Tree Allergy Treatments
- Leukotriene inhibitors
- Immunotherapy Injections and Tablets
Struggling to Get Rid of Allergies? Get Help!
Allergies of all sorts present chronic and acute problems for millions of Americans. Oklahomans suffer from ragweed, oak tree and grass pollens tremendously. The windy climate promotes the spread of pollen leading to more allergic reactions. Many allergens share symptoms so determining the true cause can be difficult. Receiving proper diagnosis from a medical doctor is best. It will help you find the allergen giving you problems. Once the irritant has been found, your doctor can help guide you on a treatment plan. As allergies can continue to increase, it’s extremely important that we not only monitor symptoms but start an action plan against them. Remember; you don’t have to suffer. Help is available. At Grassroots Healthcare, helping patients find relief is much more than a duty. It is our passion. Let us help you get to a happier and healthier state. Contact us today!
Hi, I’m Dr. Melita Tate, and I’m Brooke Schaive, a nurse practitioner at Grassroots Healthcare. So we’re here today to talk to you about good old Oklahoma allergies. Many people have been suffering from it. I was out in my garden the other day and realized I’d accidentally grown some ragweed. I didn’t know what it was, and I took a photo with my phone, and I had never seen it up that close and personal, but a lot of my patients are coming in with symptoms. So we’re going to talk a little bit about the symptoms of allergies, some of the things that you can use over the counter or get from your provider to help you with allergies, and then we’re also going to talk about some things that you could do to prevent needing some of those medications.
What symptoms are you mostly seeing for your patients?
Sure, a lot of our patients present to the clinic with congestion, itchy eyes, a runny nose, a crackly little cough that just persists, and all these symptoms can sometimes be hard to differentiate between a common cold that’s going around or seasonal allergies. They tend to present in the same way to us. It’s figuring out how to differentiate between the seasonal allergies versus a virus or cold that’s going around causing these symptoms. So they mimic each other very closely.
And a lot of times, patients will have some things like a sore throat, especially if your throat is sore really bad first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night when you wake up. A lot of that is because the drainage that you’re having during the day is starting to go down the back of your throat. And a lot of patients will have other symptoms like lots of congestion, headaches, pressure. Allergies, usually after they’ve persisted for a while, can lead into other things like sinus infections. Or if you have a fever, then we start to think that maybe it’s something else. But for just your simple runny nose, congestion, allergy symptoms that most of us here in Oklahoma do experience, there are some things that you can get over the counter. Many of us know about Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, or their off-brands, and they do help over a 24-hour period with some of your symptoms. They’re going to help with that drainage that you’re having, especially during the day. They were kind of created to be longer-lasting and not as sedating so you can take them during the day. But the good old Benadryl that knocks a lot of us out and makes us sleepy, you can take that at night, especially if you’re having that sore throat that comes on first thing in the morning. If you’re having lots of congestion, you can get something that has a decongestant in it. Keep in mind that decongestants can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, so use those cautiously. But those are things that you can get over the counter.
The other things that you can get over the counter are nasal sprays like Flonase. It’s important to remember, though, that Flonase typically doesn’t work and take full effect for 10 to 14 days. So coming up onto the onset of fall allergies, it’s a good time to start using Flonase now so that when you do need it, it’s in full force and working well for you. It’s not something that will help overnight, but coming 10 to 14 days later, it’ll be working well for you. One of the good things I like about Flonase or other nasal sprays you can get over the counter is that they work locally, so you won’t need as much steroid in your system. If you’ve ever come to your doctor’s office to get a steroid shot or an allergy shot, that is a systemic steroid. Over time, those things can build up in your system, and they’re hard on your adrenal glands. They work great for people, especially if you’ve been really suffering. They work great for any kind of allergies like skin allergies or poison ivy, where you have a significant allergic reaction. They will really help with your congestion and things like that. But you don’t want to get them too often because they can make people hungrier, raise people’s blood sugar, and over time, if you get them frequently, they can cause osteoporosis or osteopenia, a condition where your bones don’t have enough mineralization and are more prone to breaking. We try to avoid systemic treatment if we can.
Which brings me to the exciting topic that I love to talk about, which is how we can keep our patients off of medication. That’s something we’re super passionate about here at Grassroots Healthcare. One of the things is honey. So if you have honey that’s local within 30 miles of your home, it’s proven to help with seasonal allergies. I typically recommend about a tablespoon a day. The preferred method is to put it under your tongue and let it sit, and then you can take the rest with a spoon. Bees provide that for us in the honey, and it’s an alternative method to treat allergies.
And one of the other things that are mast cell stabilizers, such as quercetin. You can use that as well, and they work synergistically to help inhibit your histamine that’s being released, causing inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose, and a sore throat. There are some natural things you can do to ward off allergy symptoms so that hopefully next year, you won’t be needing to supply the pharmacy with all your finances. You can do some natural stuff to keep you off medication.
Absolutely, and vitamin D is another big one. We really test our patients for that. It helps your immune system work better. Allergies are your immune system acting out of sorts and really overreacting. So if you have your vitamin D in place, that will help your immune system recognize what it should be reacting to and maybe help it not react so strongly to these allergies. Keeping that in a good range is also a great idea.
If any of these topics are appealing to you and you’d like to reach out to us, our office and phone lines are open from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday. We’d love for you to reach out to the office. Our team is great here, and we would love to meet with you at Grassroots Healthcare. You can reach us at 918-878-7777 or grassrootstulsa.com.