Experts share 3 strategies to cope with chronic allergies.

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by BrunildaNazario, MD
WebMD Archive

Allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States — the poor souls who sniffle, sneeze, and get all clogged up when face to face with the allergen (or allergens) that set them off.

For many, allergies are seasonal and mild, requiring nothing more than getting extra tissue or taking a decongestant occasionally. For others, the allergy is to a known food, and as long as they avoid the food, no problem.

But for legions of others adults, allergies are so severe it interferes with their quality of life. The allergens — whatever it is that sets off the symptoms — may affect them more severely than others and may be harder to avoid.

Defining “severe” allergies, and pinpointing how many people are affected, is difficult even for allergists.

“When we say severe, we mean the allergies basically cause severe enough symptoms that they are interfering with life,” says Paul V. Williams, MD, a staff allergist at Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center, Mount Vernon, Wash.

That means, for instance, having to take sick days to cope with symptoms so severe you can’t work, or not being able to go outside on a day with a high pollen count, if that’s your primary allergen. If your allergies are this severe, you know who you are. And experts offer these three strategies for coping.

Read more at: //www.webmd.com/allergies/features/severe-allergies