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Expert advice to take control of your allergies

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Allergies aren't long-term colds

Are you one of the millions of people who regularly suffer from a nonstop runny nose, itchy red eyes, indefatigable sneezing and lethargy that sends you to bed? Do you chalk it up to an unshakable cold and stumble through your days in hopes that your megadoses of vitamin C will eventually kick in? Here is news for you. If your cold-like symptoms seem to never abate, chances are you are suffering from allergies and no amount of vitamin C is going to help you heal. Take some advice from pro golfer Jill McGill (who is allergic to grass!) and Dr Beth Corn to successfully manage your allergies and to keep them from running your nose and your life.

Tips to manage your allergies

1. Don't simply live with allergies.

"When it comes to nasal allergies I think a lot of people let their indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms prevent them from enjoying activities. My advice would be to take control of your allergies. When I don't have my allergies under control, it seems all I want to do is crawl in bed. And, not being active makes me feel worse," says McGill. But how does one take control? Go talk to your doc!

Also see: What causes nasal allergies?

2. Avoid the allergens.

Dr Corn says, "If someone is allergic to dust, I recommend getting special dust mite covers for their pillows to minimize dust which is emitted from them. It would also be helpful to lessen carpeting in one's house and use dust collectors. If one has seasonal allergies, it is best not to be outside when the pollen count is high, like in the morning."

3. See your doctor to discuss your options.

If your allergy symptoms are negatively impacting the quality of your life, you need to do something about it. "Indoor and outdoor allergy sufferers should visit their physician to learn about treatments that will help control their nasal allergy symptoms," recommends Dr Corn. Don't ignore your symptoms and think they will simply go away. There are effective treatments for you to try.

4. Consider medication.

Over the counter and prescriptions medications can help you decrease or eliminate your allergy symptoms. "As an adult my allergy symptoms became more constant, especially when traveling and playing golf. It wasn't until the fall of 2007 when my doctor suggested we take a more 'preemptive strike' strategy and prescribed Xyzal. I have been taking Xyzal every night and have noticed a decrease in my allergy symptoms," says McGill, who no longer has to worry about her allergies getting in the way of her game no matter where she travels.

5. Go to

For a variety of helpful tools – including an Allergy Symptom Scorecard – and information about allergies and managing their symptoms, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Challenge Your Course website. In addition to learning more about allergies and treatments, you can also learn more about McGill and the Challenge Your Course allergy awareness campaign.

6. Be prepared.

Though some treatments may not work for you, and there will be times your allergies are worse than others, McGill concludes, "If all else fails make sure you have enough Kleenex to stop your nose from running!"

You don't have to let allergies run your life. Take proactive measures to put your allergy symptoms in their place and live your life to the fullest – symptom-free.

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