Q: I have unbelievable problems with ragweed allergies this time of year. Any thoughts?

A: Ragweed. Yes, I can identify. It is one of the seasons in Missouri I do not look forward to. Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to certain substances. Allergies can be mild or severe. Over the counter medications may be enough if the symptoms are not too bad. We can test to find out what you are allergic to, but most people pretty much know what causes their symptoms. Sometimes, immunotherapy might help. This is when you get regular injections that have small amounts of allergens in them. Then, your body gets used to the allergens and you begin to react less to them. If the pollen count is high, it is best to stay indoors in the air conditioning, if you can. Make sure to clean the filters, regularly. If you are allergic enough to have hives, asthma, itchy skin, continuous sneezing and eye swelling, it might be worth taking a short course of steroids. You can take pills or a one-time shot, when symptoms are worst. Though, taking steroids can cause some problems, such as insomnia, swelling, elevated blood sugar, and increased appetite. The ideal solution is to go to the Rockies for the six weeks of ragweed season, but that is probably not practical for most of us. So, if you are having a bad day with ragweed allergies, drop by the clinic to see one of us and we will get you something that will help.

Dr. Rick Casey

Questions can be submitted directly to the providers, called in to Mercy Clinic at 417/876-5851 or submitted through their new App mymercy.net.

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