Spring means flower buds and blooming trees — and if you're one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable. But before you settle for plastic flowers and artificial turf, try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control.
Allergies can occur at any time of year, depending on what triggers your reaction. However, allergies to pollen, grass or weeds are more common during the spring and summer months.
Are you born with allergies?
No. Instead, your body develops an allergic response to a particular substance when it comes into contact with it. Not all allergies develop in childhood either. Sometimes you may develop a reaction later in life, even if you have encountered the trigger before.
Reduce Your Exposure
- Stay indoors on windy days. After rain pollen count is lower.
- Lawn work stirs up allergens.
- Don't hang clothes outside since pollen will stick to them.
- Remove clothes you wore outside, shower and rinse hair.
- Wear a pollen mask.
- Check weather station for local pollen count.
- Close windows.
- Pollen counts are highest in the morning.
- Use an air conditioner with a Hepa filter.
Over the Counter Treatments
- Oral Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
- Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, and others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion). Make sure you always check with your physician first.
- Nasal sprays such as Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn't have serious side effects, though it's most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
- Pat a Day eye drops--one drop a day
- Neti Pot may help flush allergens
Common signs and symptoms
Allergy symptoms are the result of a lot of different reactions in your body, caused by your immune system responding to a substance it wrongly deems dangerous, such as pollen or pet dander, and may include:
- runny stuffy nose
- eye redness, tearing and itching
- sore throat
- temporary loss of smell and taste
- sinus congestion
Left untreated seasonal allergies can result in Asthma. How to tell if you are experiencing allergies or something else? See your doctor. Allergy symptoms can be very similar to those of other conditions, so it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between allergies and colds, for example.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it may be more likely you have a cold or similar illness than a common allergic reaction:
- Slow onset
- Fever chills
Here is to your Good Health, Cathy