Living with allergies is challenging at any time of year, but the spring allergy season can be especially miserable for those already coping with allergies. Springtime allergies can affect many people, even those who don't usually have allergies. Spring allergies can include hay fever and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose.
Fortunately, some practical tips can alleviate allergy symptoms, which include headaches, dizziness, sneezing, runny nose, nasal stuffiness, and congestion. Below we share four tips to help you cope with spring allergies.
Identify the Problem
Spring allergies often occur when trees bloom and release pollen into the air. When the pollen comes in contact with someone who is allergic, their body tries to fight it by producing chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms.
To identify if you have seasonal allergies, try to find the pattern of when your symptoms occur. If symptoms begin around the same time each year, but you don't have a fever or other signs of a cold or infection, it may be allergies.
If you think it is allergies and want to identify what you are allergic to, make an appointment with an allergist. A simple test can screen for dozens of common allergens.
Reduce the Exposure
During spring, there is no way to avoid breathing in the billions of tiny pollen grains floating around in the air. Close all the doors and windows of the house and stay inside if possible. Avoid the outdoors on dry and windy days and during the early morning hours, when pollen counts are the highest. You may want to try wearing a mask with a filter if you often work outdoors.
If you do go outside, choose the best time of day. The best time to go out is right after a spring rain as rain helps remove some of the allergens from the air. But keep the outdoor excursion relatively short, because pollen levels sometimes can soar after a rainfall.
If you do venture outdoors, remember to remove jackets and shoes before coming back inside to keep allergens from accumulating in the home. Shower and rinse off any pollen or other allergens from the skin or hair.
Utilize Over-The-Counter Medications
There are several types of medications that help relieve allergy symptoms. These medications should only be used for a brief period unless you are under the supervision of a physician.
Some options include antihistamines, which alleviate congestion and itchy, watery eyes, decongestants which relieve nasal congestion, nasal sprays which shrink swollen nasal tissues, eye drops, and topical steroid creams. You can also use a saline solution placed in an irrigation device called a neti pot to rinse the sinuses.
Take medication early and consistently. If you wait for allergy symptoms to begin, it will be harder to get them under control. For spring allergy sufferers, patients should start their allergy regime around March 1st.
Tweak Your Home
Simple changes can make a world of difference. Keep all the windows shut to keep out pollen. It's essential to keep the indoor air as clean as possible to lower exposure to pollen. Take off shoes when coming inside and request that guests do the same.
Utilize an air conditioner to cool the home instead of a fan, which draws in air from outside. The air conditioner will also help circulate and clean stagnant air.
Clean the floors with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. These filters trap 99.97% of microscopic particles in the air. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests using certified asthma & allergy friendly vacuums.
You can also use an air purification system with a HEPA filter. Use a dehumidifier to keep the air as dry as possible. Also, don’t smoke. It can make allergy symptoms much worse.
Although it may be impossible to alleviate allergy symptoms completely, these tips can help a person better cope with spring allergies. Marvel Clinic offers the most advanced allergy testing and treatments. For more information, call 931-451-8401 or contact us today to schedule a consultation and speak to a member of our staff. We are happy to answer all of your questions.