PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Around here it’s pollen season and people with allergies are feeling it.

The allergists can’t keep up.

“We have a lot of patients coming in for visits, you know for acute care,” says Dr. Deborah Gentile, an allergist at Allegheny General Hospital. “Certainly, if they’re flaring up, they’re calling for phone advice.”

Many people who know they have allergies have already taken steps against this seasonal scourge.

Shots and preventive medication can take months to work. Steroids can take weeks. If you’re not on these already, you’re stuck taking medication as needed.

“We actually have nasal sprays now that are just antihistamines,” says Dr. Gentile. “If you’re actually having symptoms, you can spray them in your nose, and they’ll have an effect on runny nose, sneezing and even congestion within several minutes.”

These are by prescription only. Generally, people are not drowsy with them. For some, the spray is bitter, but not everyone can taste it.

“Your first line is always your over-the-counter antihistamines,” Dr. Gentile advises. “In very severe cases, we may actually prescribe a very short burst of prednisone to help someone get over the hump.”

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