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Healthwise: Winter Weather Allergies

November 30, 2011

The temperatures are dropping and you may be spending less time outdoors, but just because you are inside doesn't mean your allergies will disappear.

The grass is turning brown, and the leaves are falling from the trees. People may not have to deal with pollen or ragweed during cooler months, but allergies are still indoors.

"What we see mostly this time of year is things that are there all the time because they're stuck indoors with it," said Dr. Gary Rakes a member of Allergy Partners of Charlottesville.

Doctor Rakes says things like mold, dust mites and pet dander can lead to other health problems.

"We also take care of things like asthma which often can be triggered by allergies," said Rakes.

If you notice that you have itchy or watery eyes and a runny nose you could be allergic to something in your home. Doctors check for an allergic reaction with a blood test, but usually they use a more common skin test.

"It involves something that looks like plastic toothpick and we make tiny little taps on the skin. It feels like the corner of a piece of paper," said Rakes. "If they are allergic, they get a little mosquito bite size reaction that looks like a little itchy place."

If you find out that you have allergies, your doctor can set you up with medications or an allergy shot that works to get rid of your allergies.

"That's when we take whatever the patient is allergic to and give it back to them in small doses," said Rakes. "That's the only treatment that we have that reverses allergies, that makes it go away and is drug free as well."

With chilly months ahead, odds are you will be spending more time inside but now you can do so while keeping your allergies in check.

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