ALLEN Fall is not Pam Poteete's friend.

'The sneezing is very annoying,' she said. 'The headaches are pretty bad.'

Because her allergies are so severe, Poteete takes shots to manage the symptoms. But this year, there are more options than ever for treating seasonal allergies. They range from pills to eye drops; wet and dry nasal sprays; and now a spray that combines the antihistamine of a pill with the corticosteroid of a nose spray.

Dr. Hari Reddy of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Allen said more therapies are needed because there are more allergy sufferers.

'There's definitely a higher incidence of allergies as compared to a decade or two decades ago,' Dr. Reddy said. 'When we live in such a sterile society, our immune systems don't have to fight off as many infections. And because of that, it gravitates more towards an allergic predisposition.'

Dr. Reddy said in addition to sneezing and runny nose, headaches are often the first warning sign allergies are about to hit.

'Your sinuses are meant to be hollow, air-filled spaces which all of a sudden become inflamed and have a lot of drainage built up in it,' he said. 'That manifests as pain and pressure, and can be one of the initial symptoms.'

Doctors say the best time to begin allergy treatment is before symptoms start. This past weekend's rain is expected to increase pollen counts across North Texas.


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