Get Ready for Allergy Season!

HIV itself doesn’t cause allergies, nor does it cause physical illness. What it does is destroy white blood cells that typically fight infection. With allergy season reaching full swing, it’s time to talk to your doctor about preventing respiratory infections and what medications are safe for you to use in case of hay fever.

Are Allergies Dangerous?

With a compromised immune system, any illness can be dangerous to your health. Recovery is much harder and hospitalization can even result if the problem isn’t addressed immediately. Hay fever causes inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages. If it’s not taken care of, it can lead to sinus infections, ear infections and other illnesses.

If a person suffers from asthma, hay fever makes the condition much worse. And one of the common treatments for asthma—oral corticosteroids—can suppress the immune system. An HIV-positive individual needs to disclose their current medications to a physician before they can receive safe treatment for hay fever before it becomes something more serious.

Are the Over the Counter Medications Dangerous?

Most standard over-the-counter allergy relief can safely be used, even if an HIV-positive individual is on active antiretroviral therapy. However, allergy shots can be controversial as no long-term effects are currently known. It’s also possible that a medication being taken for another symptom or health issue could react poorly with an oral antihistamine or nasal steroid spray.

Before taking any medication for the first time, make sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacy. Get the information about what’s safe for you and try to avoid encountering too many allergens this spring.