We have finally left the cold, dark winter season behind and entered a bright, warmer spring. This season blooms with greener grass and bright flowers, but for many, it also brings some uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Spring allergy symptoms are respiratory symptoms that occur during the height of spring due to increased allergens in the air. They typically include sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes, and post-nasal drip. If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, don't worry - we’ve made a list of a few things you can do to help prepare for allergy season this year.
1. Prep Your Home
One way to start preparing is by doing whatever you can to keep allergens out of your home. Allergens are tiny particles that cause allergic reactions in some people. The most common allergens are pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores. You can reduce your exposure to these allergens by doing the following:
- Keep your windows closed during peak allergy season.
- Vacuum often.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Cover your mattress and pillows with dust-mite-proof covers.
- Keep your pets out of the bedroom.
- Wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week.
- Leave shoes, jackets, and hats at the door to keep from bringing pollen inside the house.
- If you’ve been outside, bathe before getting into bed to avoid bringing allergens into bed with you.
Keeping your home safe will help you reduce your exposure to potential allergens and keep you healthy during allergy season.
2. Stay Safe Outside
Even though your home is prepared, you will have to be ready for what awaits you outside. Be sure to take proper precautions before you leave the house to avoid feeling the effects of allergy season. Some things you can do include:
- Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to keep allergens out of your eyes and hair.
- Keep track of pollen count, and wear a mask when the pollen count is especially high.
- Keep your car windows up and don’t use the vent.
- Stay on top of cleaning your vehicle weekly, both inside and out.
- Avoid traveling through tall grass if you are allergic to grass pollen, which is especially important for children.
The outdoors is where you will be most at risk, so be sure to protect yourself from allergens when you are outside. Another important thing to do as you go about your day is to stay hydrated, especially in warmer weather. Drinking plenty of fluids will help clear allergens from your system and keep you healthy, so be sure to drink plenty of water, juice, tea, and other non-caffeinated drinks.
3. Start Treatment Early
Another way to prepare for allergy season is by taking medication. You can start taking medications before allergy season begins to help reduce the severity of your symptoms. There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications available to help relieve allergy symptoms, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory nasal spray - Nasal sprays such as fluticasone are very effective when used daily and started one to two weeks before allergy season. They reduce the build-up of allergy cells in the mucous membranes that cause allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamine - These are medications used to treat symptoms of allergies, usually helpful for mild allergy symptoms.
- Eye drops - Eye drops are helpful for allergies affecting your eyes, alleviating symptoms like red, watery, or itchy eyes. They can usually be purchased over-the-counter.
Talk to your primary care doctor about what medications might be best for you. You can also ask your doctor for personalized recommendations on how to identify your allergen triggers and guidelines for when to seek more assertive treatment.
The scenic sights and warm weather of spring are supposed to be enjoyable, but allergies can make it a lot harder to embrace the nature of the season. As long as you prepare and seek treatment, you should be able to do as many fun activities as you’d like this spring while keeping your allergies under control. If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, reach out to your primary care provider or utilize our walk-in services at Genesis Medical Associates for relief and guidance.
Genesis Medical Associates is dedicated to providing families with access to primary care and improving the overall health and wellness of our patients. We offer a variety of services including primary care, women’s health, cardiology, telemedicine, and more. Visit one of our many Pittsburgh, PA locations or schedule an appointment online today.