What does the 2021 allergy season have in store? 

Unfortunately, you can expect even more sniffling and sneezing.

The Southeast is already experiencing high allergy activity, and grass and weed pollen is expected to be above average in many areas across the United States.

As of this posting, 42 percent of the country is experiencing allergy rates that are above average.

Currently, North Carolina is listed as having some of the highest allergy rates in the U.S. Measurements from 9.7 to 12 are considered high, and the Raleigh area is showing readings around 10.7 The main culprits are allergens from oak, sweet gum and birch trees, according to the allergy website Pollen.com.

Where Can I Find the Latest 2021 Allergy Updates?

Often, your local news channel will highlight “pollen updates” to give viewers an idea of how severe outdoor allergens will be. This information changes daily. The Weather Channel also provides pollen/allergy alerts . Another useful resource is Pollen.com.

2021’s Worst Places in the United States for Allergies

What part of the country is suffering through more pollen and ragweed? There are some variations depending upon which source you’re using, but the good news? No North Carolina city was listed in the top ten worst cities for allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America places Scranton, Pennsylvania at the top of the list, followed by Richmond and Wichita, Kansas. Rounding out the top ten are:

  • McAllen, Texas
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Springfield, Massachusetts
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut

Your Complete Guide to Allergy Help and Treatment

Allergies are some of the most common conditions we treat. Therefore, we want to provide you with the extensive information you need to battle troublesome symptoms and live a healthier life through our comprehensive treatment plans.

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies occur when an allergen comes into contact with your body. An allergen is any substance that causes an allergic reaction, such as pollen or pet dander. When you come into contact with this allergen, your immune system goes into overdrive, “attacking” it. This happens every time the allergen enters your system.

As a result, your body produces histamine which causes symptoms such as:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Hives

Often, this group of symptoms is referred to as “hay fever,” although the term has nothing to do with hay or a fever.

What Is The Best Treatment for Allergies?

At Raleigh Capitol ENT, we understand that the best course of treatment will be different for each individual and will often depend upon what is causing the allergies. While you should avoid known allergens as much as possible, the latest studies show it is unclear how much strict allergen avoidance actually benefits patients.

For allergy treatments, we suggest:

  • Nasal saline rinses are the safest and one of the most effective treatments for allergies.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) oral antihistamines like Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Allegra (fexofenadine) help with sneezing, itching, eye irritation and runny nose.
  • OTC nasal steroid sprays like Flonase, Rhinocort and Nasacort help with nasal congestion, and they alleviate the symptoms outlined above. These are safe to use and are not addictive.
  • OTC oral decongestants like Sudafed can be useful to decrease swelling in the nose, relieving nasal congestion and headache/facial pressure. These should be used sparingly and can potentially cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
  • Nasal decongestant sprays like Afrin, 4way, sinus buster and others can be used to relieve nasal congestion and drainage. However, these sprays should be used with caution and sparingly, as these sprays can be addictive with overuse and lead to worsening symptoms.

How Do You Test for Allergies?

In order to determine the source of your problems, we use intradermal titration skin testing. During this procedure, we expose your skin to the most common allergens. We then carefully observe the site to determine if an allergic reaction occurs. 

Once we have an idea of what causes the allergies, we can proceed with crafting an individualized plan of action.

If you’d like more details, check out our articles: What is Allergy Skin Testing and How Can It Help You? and Is Immunotherapy Right for You? Answer These Questions to Find Out. 

How Are Allergies Treated?

There are several ways to treat allergies, including medication and immunotherapy.


We’ve helped thousands of patients deal with the inconvenience of allergies, and while medication doesn’t provide a long-term solution, it often provides relief from the itchy eyes, runny nose and sinus pain associated with yearly allergies.

It’s important to seek treatment to be sure that your problem is caused by allergies and not a virus or the common cold. Remember that antibiotics are not effective against viruses and colds.  However, these conditions can certainly lead to a sinus infection.

There are a wide variety of over-the-counter medications available, and our doctors can provide information on which ones may be the best for you. 

Suffering from sore throats and stuffy noses? Following are some articles that provide information you need.

Four Common Causes of a Stuffy Nose 

Four Causes of Chronic Sinus Problems 

It’s important to note that if you have chronic allergies, at home or over-the-counter treatment will only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause.


Immunotherapy remains one of the most effective treatments for allergies. During this process, we expose you to a diluted version of the allergen. Over time, your body develops a resistance to it. 

Successful immunotherapy takes several years and multiple appointments, but for the majority of our patients, the effort is worth it to rid them of the pain and inconvenience of chronic allergies.

Is It Possible to Have Allergy Treatment Without Shots? 


Let’s be frank. A lot of people—both adults and children—don’t like needles. For many adults, the discomfort (and inconvenience) of allergy shots makes it difficult for them to get the treatment they need and deserve. 

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a type of allergy treatment that involves placing daily doses under the tongue. It’s such a simple procedure that some patients can even administer it from the comfort of their own homes! 

Not only is it a great choice for children, but it’s also a good option for those whose jobs require extensive travel.

However, there are a few things you should consider:

  • SLIT requires the same long-term commitment as other forms of immunotherapy.
  • Most insurance companies will not pay for this procedure. Check your specific policy for details.
  • You should only get SLIT from an ENT doctor who specializes in allergy help because only an allergy specialist such as those as Raleigh Capitol ENT can refine the dosage to give you the exact amount you need.
  • The cost varies, but you should count on a ballpark figure of around $2.60 per day for a year.


Whether you need to see an allergy specialist or have a special procedure, our physicians have hundreds of years of combined experience helping adults and children get the relief they need. See why we’re the provider of choice for so many throughout the Triangle area. You don’t have to live with the inconvenience of allergies. 

Schedule an appointment today.

What You Need to Know About Allergy Treatment 

Our blog is a virtual library of useful tips and information. You’ll find the following very valuable:

Fall Allergies: Fact or Fiction?

A Step-by-Step Guide to Allergy Treatment 

If You Have Allergies, You Should Know These Four Facts 

The Top Ten Questions to Ask Your ENT Before Allergy Season 


Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose, and Throat is the area's premiere physician-owned ENT practice with seven convenient locations throughout Wake County. Our board-certified physicians have extensive experience in treating both common and complex cases to help adults and children alike. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us.