Achoo! Allergies make people miserable

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THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Bianca Francois
Allergist Dr. Robert J. Mittman said that this year, the season is particularly bad.THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Bianca Francois
Allergist Dr. Robert J. Mittman said that this year, the season is particularly bad.

Dr. Robert J. Mittman hasn’t seen this many runny noses and watery eyes in the past 10 years.

Mittman, who owns and operates the Allergy & Asthma Family Care Center in Bayside (with a location in Levittown, L.I.) attributes the rise of allergy sufferers to the delayed season.

“The season was so delayed; we’re used to seeing allergies mid March to April but because of the cold winter and it becoming warm very quickly it caused an uprise of allergies.”

According to Mittman, allergies are an overreaction to normally harmless substances. The body believes these substances to be bacteria or the enemy and forms antibodies to fight against them.

But for those wondering whether that scratchy throat is a cold or just allergies, Mittman admits that at times it may be difficult to tell, but he has some surefire clues. Watery/itchy eyes occurring the same time every year and a family history are determining factors for allergies, whereas a fever is a sign of an infection.

To lower your chances of an allergic reaction, Mittman cites avoidance as the main principle. If you have a cat allergy, don’t have a cat in the house. If you are allergic to pollen and you’re a runner, try running at night when the pollen counts are significantly lower. Wearing sunglasses will shield your eyes from pollen and will in turn stop itchy eyes. Using Boroleum® ointment under the nose will also aid in catching pollen and preventing it from entering the nasal passages.

Generally, if symptoms are mild, over-the-counter (OTC) allergy remedies are fine, but Mittman cautions that after a day or two, if it doesn’t work, then it is time to see your physician. One point that Mittman stresses is that allergies should not be ignored.

“Allergies are not harmless, if left alone they will fester.”

Untreated allergies can cause asthma and sinus congestion among many other illnesses. Allergies also leave the body susceptible to other illnesses

“The immune system becomes depressed; the body is sending soldiers for pollen dust instead of bacteria.”

Although there is no cure for allergies, there are three treatments that Mittman advocates,

“Avoidance, Medication, and Allergy Immunotherapy,” he said.

Immunotherapy is an all-natural remedy of exposing the body to small doses of a specific allergen subcutaneously (beneath the skin) to desensitize the body.

Though Mittman recognizes these three treatments, he still remains optimistic in “looking for more of a cure than a temporary treatment.”

Dr. Robert J. Mittman’s office is located 38-21 Bell Boulevard in Bayside. For more information, call 718-423-9300.