Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is an allergic response to pollen (the male component of the plant reproductive system) or other microscopic substances. The condition, simply called 'allergies' by many people, affects up to 20 percent of people in Texas and nationwide. That's about 60 million people in the United States -- or five million Texans.
Hay fever has many of the same symptoms as a cold or other viral infection, but it can be much worse, lasting for weeks, even months, Dr. Gross said. "Allergies can have a significant negative impact on a person's quality of life. People who suffer from it don't want to go to work, they can't sleep, their head hurts, they're congested. It can be really devastating."
Nationally, reduced workplace productivity and increased absenteeism related to allergies cost U.S. companies about $250 million a year, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While the condition itself accounts for sick time and lost productivity, some of the most popular over- the-counter treatments can have side effects, including drowsiness, that are as bad as the illness, Dr. Gupta said.
"If someone's having problems, they should go to their primary care physician or allergist to discuss some of the effective prescription medications on the market today," Dr. Gupta said. "For people with severe problems, allergy shots may be the best answer."
The fall ragweed season usually starts in September and lasts until November, when the plants go dormant.
|SOURCE Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas|
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