Spring is a wonderful time of year. It brings with it warm temperatures, beautiful flowers, and gorgeous weather. Unfortunately for many of us, spring also brings with it allergy season. Spring creates optimal conditions for the spread of the most common allergens: because of the increased plant growth pollen is at a high in the spring and the wet weather causes mold to thrive, triggering symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchiness and redness of the eyes and nose in those of us that have allergies. These symptoms can be miserable and interfere with daily life by disturbing sleep, making it difficult to focus on work, and limiting the amount of time we can spend outdoors enjoying hobbies or time with family and friends. Fortunately, there are some helpful Spring allergy tips that allergy sufferers can do to minimize or prevent their allergy symptoms.
Take the Right Allergy Medication for You
There are a variety of over the counter medication options available for allergy sufferers.
- Antihistamines reduce allergy symptoms by decreasing the amount of histamine, which causes your allergic reaction, in your body. However, many antihistamines can make you drowsy, so read packaging carefully to make sure drowsiness won’t make you unproductive or unsafe.
- Decongestants shrink the blood vessels in your nose to clear stuffiness and congestion and reduce nasal swelling. These are sometimes sold as a combo with antihistamines for more comprehensive allergy relief.
- Nasal spray may be a better option for more severe allergies, but they can take longer to work than oral medications, up to a few days. They can also lead to side effects like burning, dryness, and nosebleeds, so be careful to use the lowest dose that controls your symptoms. A steroid nasal spray can be used to reduce inflammation resulting from allergies.
- Eye drops can be used to sooth itchy, red, and watery eyes, but they need to be used in conjunction with other treatments if you want relief for other symptoms as well.
Some people report success with certain natural remedies, but the effectiveness and long term effect of these treatments is largely unexamined, some can cause allergic reactions (including in people allergic to certain types of pollens), and may interact badly with other medication. Talk to a medical professional before starting a natural treatment regimen.
One of the main Spring allergy tips that many forgo is to try and start regularly taking allergy medicine before your symptoms begin, at least a week before your allergy season typically starts, so that the medication is in your system before you need it.
Make Changes to Your Home
Your home should be an escape from the stresses of the outside world, and that includes allergies. Keep allergens out by keeping doors and windows shut as much as possible, making sure that everyone who enters your home takes their shoes off at the door, and not line drying laundry. Eliminate any allergens that do manage to make their way in by cleaning with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which filters out 99.7% of microscopic particles in the air.
Don’t smoke or allow smoking in your home, and avoid smokers elsewhere as much as possible. Smoking and secondhand smoke can worsen allergy symptoms. If you or someone you live with does smoke, this is a great opportunity to quit, and if you trip up, don’t be discouraged, just try again.
Limit Your Time Outdoors
Limiting time outside reduces exposure to allergens, but it’s not always feasible and can be very un-enjoyable for many. If you must be outside, monitor pollen and mold counts through weather forecasts in the newspaper or on the radio, television, or internet, and try to go outside when counts are low to minimize exposure. When outside, wear glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from irritants and wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when doing outdoor chores. When you come back in take a shower, wash your hair, and change clothing before doing anything else to remove allergens from your body and minimize the spread of them throughout your house.
Seek Out a Medical Professional
If you continue to suffer from allergies and have already employed these Spring allergy tips, you should see an allergy specialist like Dr. Mayank Shukla. An allergy specialist can perform an allergy test to determine the exact cause of your allergy symptoms and offer stronger or more specialized treatment. This may include allergy shots or immunotherapy, which can help your body build up a resistance to your allergen or prescription medication.
Dr. Shukla is a leading allergy and respiratory specialist in New York who is passionate about treating both children and adults suffering from allergies and other breathing issues. Contact his office today to schedule an appointment and allow Dr. Shukla and his staff to help you breathe easier this Spring.