IT’S SPRING TIME!
Flowers, trees, weeds, and grasses begin to blossom. Spring cleaning stirs up dust mites and increases exposure to irritating fumes of cleaning chemicals.
Few simple strategies will help keep seasonal allergies under control.
- Minimize exposure to allergens:
-Stay indoors on dry, windy days.
-Delegate lawn mowing and other gardening chores.
-Wear an allergen mask.
-After returning from outdoors, shower, wash your hair and change your clothing.
-Check your local TV or radio station, or the internet for pollen forecasts.
-Close doors and windows when pollen counts are high.
-Avoid outdoor activity in mid-morning to mid-afternoon, when pollen counts are often highest.
- Keep indoor air clean:
-Use air conditioning in your house and car.
-Use high-efficiency filters.
– Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
- Use nonprescription medications:
-Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose, and watery eyes.
Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
-Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) are often used. Avoid long term use of decongestant nasal sprays since they can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
For the majority, avoiding allergens and taking over-the-counter medications is enough to ease symptoms.
In severe cases, your healthcare provider may recommend an allergist who can perform skin tests or blood tests to find out the specific allergy triggers.
They can suggest appropriate medications to treat your allergies and asthma. Sometimes allergy shots (immunotherapy) are necessary which can be extremely helpful in controlling the allergy symptoms.