In Texas, seasonal allergies are common. Our Lone Star State’s pollens from weeds, grasses and trees are known allergens and they can travel hundreds of miles in the wind, wreaking havoc in our daily lives.Allergy sufferers’ most common complaints include a stuffy nose with clear drainage, which results in constant blowing or an annoying tickle in the back of the throat.“If allergy symptoms are making you miserable, the first step is to take control of your environment,” advises Dr. Nancy Georgekutty, an independently practicing primary care physician on staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. “Limiting outdoor exposure when pollen counts are high and using over-the-counter nasal saline spray twice a day can help. Saline spray works by keeping the nose clean and counteracting a lot of the bad effects that pollen can have on the nose,” she says. For those with indoor, year-round allergies, Georgekutty recommends keeping the bathroom free of mold. “Even a little mold around the drain can cause major symptoms,” she said.Many patients also feel better when they remove carpet from their bedroom and cover their mattress and pillows with special dust covers. If these measures don’t offer relief, then medication may help. “I suggest talking with your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medications,” Georgekutty says. “Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra can alleviate itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, and drainage. They’re quite safe and only taken once a day, which fits into active lifestyles.”Those with nasal congestion may benefit from a nasal steroid spray. “These prescription sprays are easy to use and are very safe for long-term use. There are a host of other prescription pills and sprays that can be used in conjunction with these medications, so your options are quite vast.”If you suffer from allergies, constantly sniffling and sneezing, see a doctor. “Allergies are not just annoying, they can also lead to sinus infections and colds,” Georgekutty says. “A doctor can offer relief from these symptoms and help you stay healthy.” Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.