AUGUSTA, Ga., March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pollen has arrived in the South, and allergy sufferers are experiencing symptoms. About a week before the prestigious Masters Tournament, pine pollen will blanket the area in yellow, including the greens. Fortunately, pine is a weak allergen, but highly potent pollen from late-blooming trees and new grass will also be out in force. So, Masters fans, be prepared.
"Masters visitors from up North where it is still cold are the most vulnerable. Because the seasonal changes have not begun there as they have here, travelers may not always think to bring along their allergy medications," said Dr. William Dolen, an Allergist/Immunologist for MCGHealth, and a past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "It's best to start taking allergy medicines about a week or two before coming down, because seasonal allergy symptoms are easier to treat when caught early, before they get severe."
The tell-tale signs of allergic nasal disease are sneezing, dripping and congestion, often associated with intensely itchy, watery eyes. Allergies can also cause asthma.
"If you get here and start feeling miserable, don't try to tough it out," said Dr. Dolen. "Untreated allergic rhinitis makes you feel tired, sleepy and achy -- almost like the flu. And feeling like that, you certainly won't enjoy being out on the golf course. Of course, untreated asthma is a medical emergency."
Pre-medicating and continuing with your medicine is the best way to stave off these allergies. If medications are forgotten when preparing to attend the most famous golf event in the world, Dr. Dolen recommends that visitors have their doctor back home call something in to a nearby pharmacy. "It may take a little longer for full relief, but it's better than having no relief," he said.
You can also purchase an over-the-counter solution for your specific needs, such as an antihistamine, nose spray or decongestant. You may also see if a local physician can squeeze you in and provide you with help. Asthma patients cannot rely on over-the-counter remedies.
"But remember," Dr. Dolen cautions, "antihistamines may have side effects such as sleepiness. If you'll be driving to and from the course, do not take an antihistamine that causes drowsiness. Driving is difficult enough for the many guests who are first-timers and unfamiliar with the area. Golfers should avoid these medications because they might adversely affect their game."
Don't let pollen allergens spoil your fun. When making travel plans to Augusta for April, prepare for the yellow on the greens.
MCG Health, Inc. (d/b/a MCGHealth) is a not-for-profit corporation operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children's Medical Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient facilities and services throughout the state. For more information, please visit mcghealth.org.
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