Review your results from the allergy portion of the CAID Quiz (p. 71). Locate your score so you can define your next course of action. Follow these guidelines:
■ If your score is 0-10 then you can treat yourself with OTC medicines
■ If your score is 11-25 then you need to see your primary-care physician
■ If your score is 26-45 then you need to see an allergist or an otolaryngologic allergist
■ If your score is 46 or more then you need to see an ENT who specializes in treating CAID or at least specializes in allergies
If you frequently sneeze, have a runny nose, congestion, and itchy eyes all year long then you suffer from perennial allergies that include pollution, animals, or dust. These recurrent allergies may be more subtle, making it harder for you and/or your physician to diagnose.
If you suffer from these symptoms only in the spring, summer, or fall, it is more likely that you suffer from seasonal allergies connected to different plant or mold growths. Tree pollen falls when the trees begin to bloom in the early spring. Grass pollens are the culprit starting in the late spring or early summer. By late July, your allergies will calm down as tree and grass pollen counts typically drop. The end of the summer or the early part of fall will bring in ragweed pollen season. These pollens remain a nuisance until the early winter with the first frost. The freezing temperature will kill the weed plants, and your allergies will take a breather until the following year. Those of you who think you are insulated from allergies in the big cities, because there are not many trees, think again. Grass, tree, and weed pollens are small particles that are carried for miles by the wind. Some sufferers will tell you that their allergies are worse in the city, because they are not only inundated with pollens but are also hit with nonallergic rhinitis from the car exhaust and other pollution.
Many with allergies have mild symptoms. These people may choose to live with them or medicate themselves with OTC allergy medicines. Then there are the patients who are miserable as a result of their allergies. Some are even debilitated. Lastly, although rare, allergic reactions, such as bee stings or food allergies, can be deadly. For anyone whose allergies are more than an annoyance, I strongly advise seeking professional help as soon as possible.