It’s the first week of spring, and after the freezing winter we had this year, many people are welcoming the warm, comforting temperatures of the new season. However, a rather unfriendly addition is also know to come in with this brightly colored season - allergies.
Allergies can make a patient’s springtime go from pleasant to horrible in a few short days. Fortunately, by taking a few basic steps now, you can prepare for and even lessen the effects of this year’s spring allergy season. Here are five things we recommend doing now so you feel better later:
1. See An Allergist Before Your Symptoms Start
If extensive allergies run in your family, or if you already know spring allergies cause you a lot of grief, don’t wait until your nose starts running to see an allergist. Many doctors recommend taking allergy medications a few weeks before symptoms truly begin to flare up; this “pretreatment” can help lessen symptoms later in the season.. However, it’s important that patients who are taking medicine in this way visit a doctor to ensure that they’re doing so safely. So before the trees start blooming and releasing their pollen, we recommend scheduling a consultation with your doctor or with our own allergy specialist.
2. Get Ready For Regular Spring Cleaning
Where do you think you’re more likely to suffer from allergies - the outdoors, or in your own home? You may be surprised to hear that many people continue to experience allergy symptoms in their own homes, sometimes to a higher degree than they do outside. Why? Because many allergens, such as pollen, have a way of getting into our homes and sticking there. And if you’re shutting your windows to keep allergens out, you could in fact be ensuring that your own home is an allergy symptom hotspot due to a lack of natural air circulation. To avoid this and to reduce your exposure to springtime allergy triggers, we suggest making “spring cleaning” routines a regular part of your week. Try vacuuming the carpets twice a week and changing your air filters often - you may be surprised how much of a difference this makes!
3. Don’t Forget About Mold
Pollen isn’t the only cause of uncomfortable spring allergies for patients. In fact, about 10 percent of the population suffers from mold-related allergies. The best defense against this allergen is preventing it from growing in your home at all. Mold likes to grow in dark, damp places, so get a start on fixing all the leaky pipes that may have broken during the winter. Investing in a dehumidifier also helps keep moisture levels low, and therefore keeps mold out of the rooms in your home.
4. Bookmark Your Favorite Weather Websites
Knowing when allergen levels are going to be high is another great defense in staying on top of your symptoms this season. Many weather websites will give you an allergy forecast for the day if you visit their web address. Allergy forecasts use pollen counts to tell you what allergens are the most prevalent in your area. So research some of your favorite weather pages and then remember them for when your allergy symptoms begin. Some of our favorites include:
5. Reschedule Your Outdoor Activities
For many people, a long walk outside is the highlight of their exercise routine. However, during spring allergy season, this simple task becomes a much more difficult endeavor. If you still insist on exercising outdoors during allergy season, we suggest adjusting your schedule to avoid peak allergen hours. Pollen is at its strongest level between sunrise and late morning. So instead of running before work, for example, schedule a brisk walk during your lunch hour. Or, take your pet for a stroll during dusk. Following this new schedule could give your runny nose and itchy eyes a break from spring allergens.
We know how difficult allergy season can be for our patients, but by following our tips, you can prepare for the onset of your symptoms and - hopefully - make them a bit more bearable.
*Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org