Ask the Doctor: Allergies, wildfires, shin splints

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 1:28 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every Tuesday on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Mike): “My allergies are really bad this year. What’s going on, and when should I see a doctor?”

DR. BOB: Seasonal allergies often cause symptoms of itchy eyes and nose, runny nose, and scratchy throat.

Some studies have shown that the amount of pollen in the air has been increasing over the last couple decades. Also, the length of the pollen season has also been increasing.

Therefore, people with allergies are likely being exposed to more allergens for a longer period. This translates to worsening symptoms that last longer.

The first line approach to treating allergies is over-the-counter medicines. You can try medicines such as Flonase and Claritin.

If these treatments are not helping control your symptoms, then it would be good to see your doctor.

Question #2: “We still have wildfire haze that’s going on right now across Michiana. How does that tie-in with allergies and breathing issues?”

DR. BOB: The wildfires are going to throw up tons of particulate matter, and that smoke that gets into the air and reduces the air quality.

There are some breathing issues, like asthma, which are actually allergic problems. And so, having more dust and things in the air is just going to worsen those sorts of things.

So, hopefully, it blows by soon, but it may be a time to spend a little more time inside.

Question #3: “I suffer from pretty bad shin splits when I run. I don’t want to give up running, so what can I do?”

DR. BOB: Shin pain is a common symptom in patients who run. The big issue that doctors need to determine is if there is just stress on the shin bone or if there might be a stress fracture.

Usually, there will be one specific area that is very tender if there is a fracture, whereas stress alone will cause more widespread pain on the shins.

X-rays can be helpful to determine if there is a stress fracture. If you do not have any stress fractures, there are a few important things that can help prevent shin splints.

First you need to make sure your shoes or insoles help with shock absorption. Secondly you should make sure you are following a good stretching routine and doing a warmup and cool down. Finally, it would be a good idea to decrease the mileage you are running for a while until you feel better.

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