As temperatures in the metro-east area continue to rise, medical providers at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital are encouraging spring allergy sufferers to create a strategy to combat the upcoming season. From diagnosing preexisting allergies to recommending medications, providers say now is the time to prepare for the start of the allergy season beginning in April or May.
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Convenient Care (previously called UrgiCare), can see allergy sufferers without an appointment. The walk-in service is especially helpful when someone has a severe allergy attack and can’t get an appointment at their primary physician’s office or if it occurs outside of clinic hours or on weekends.
Dr. Vijaya Thothathri, a provider at St. Elizabeth’s Convenient Care, shared, “Knowing which allergies trigger you and having medications on hand before the season starts can make a big difference because it can take a couple of weeks for medications to be effective.”
Most people's seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms are triggered by pollen. The types of pollens that trigger symptoms vary from person to person and region to region. Pollen is produced by most trees in the spring; grasses during late spring and summer; and ragweed and other late-producing plants in late summer and early fall. Many allergists agree pollen counts are increasing on a yearly basis and the trend will likely continue.
Beyond medication, here are some additional tips for allergy sufferers:
- Do not dry your clothes on a clothesline, as the pollen in the air will stick to them.
- Keep windows closed and use air conditioning during peak pollen seasons.
- If you have asthma, avoid cutting grass or wear a mask.
- If you are outdoors during the day, shower at night and change your clothes.
- If you are bothered by hay fever or asthma, keep your grass cut short or replace it with a ground cover, such as Irish moss, bunch grass or dichondra. These options do not produce a significant amount of pollen.
If allergy symptoms become severe, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Convenient Care is located within the O’Fallon Medical Building at 1512 N. Green Mount Road in O’Fallon and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Patients can walk-in without an appointment to receive care for minor illnesses, sprains and strains and minor lacerations. Patients may also reserve their spot in line, see current wait times and receive text message notifications to help them arrive shortly before their appointment with the SaveMySpot online scheduling tool available here.