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Allergic Conjunctivitis

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What is an allergy?

An allergy is a genetic condition where the body responds to harmless substances in the environment as if they are harmful. One in three Americans has allergies and five million of them are children. Allergy symptoms range from mild to life threatening. Itchy eyes, throat, and ears, clogged sinuses, headaches, watery eyes, asthma, sneezing, and nasal congestion are the most common symptoms associated with allergies.

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis causes itchy, watery discharge from red, swollen eyes. It is caused by airborne environmental allergens. For example, tree and grass pollen, mold, dust, and animal dander.

What is the treatment for allergic conjunctivitis?

Medicated drops such as antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers or mild steroids are used to treat allergic conjunctivitis. Cool compresses can also be used to alleviate the symptoms. If the allergy affects more than just the eyes, than an oral antihistamine may be prescribed.

What ways can one avoid allergic reactions?

It is very difficult to avoid all allergens completely, but one can minimize the effects of allergies by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Stay inside or avoid exercising during peak pollen times (5am-10am and 4pm-7pm)
  • Use air conditioning with a good filter both at home and in the car.
  • Shower and wash your hair after spending time out doors.
  • Use a dehumidifier to cut down on molds.
  • Remove dust gatherers such as books, stuffed animals, curtains and rugs.

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