Be prepared for spring allergy season

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Be prepared for spring allergy season

Spring is a wonderful time of year with the reawakening of new growth in dormant plants.  But for many people it’s also a reawakening and a reminder it’s allergy season triggered by all the grass, pollen and mold.  It won’t take long before vegetation will be in full bloom resulting in itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing that can begin as early as February and can last until early summer.

Weather also plays a role in how bad the allergy season may be.   If it was a mild winter, plants pollinate early meaning a longer allergy season.   If it’s a rainy spring, this leads to rapid growth of plants which means more mold. 

Make this year different. Starting today, anyone who suffers from allergies, especially when they begin in the spring, can take steps to beat back the miserable symptoms they cause.  The earlier one begins fighting back their symptoms, the easier it will be to enjoy this time of year without having to endure the affliction of allergy season. 

Luckily, there are many things one can do to make the spring allergy season more tolerable:

·      Limit your time outdoors.  Each spring, trees release billions of tiny pollen grains into the air.  Breathing them into the nose and lungs can trigger an allergic reaction.  It is especially helpful to stay indoors on a windy day and during the early morning hours when pollen counts are highest. 

·      It helps to wear glasses or sunglasses when outside to keep pollen out of eyes.  If mowing the lawn or working in the garden, wear a filter mask creating a barrier from pollen. 

·      Wipe glasses off frequently as they can collect pollen.

·      After being outdoors, take a shower, change clothes and use a neti pot to rinse sinuses.  Shampooing hair after a day spent outside is a good idea before going to bed to prevent pollen from ending up on the pillow at night. 

·      Anyone who exercises outside should try to do it later in the day when pollen counts are lower; they are highest in the morning.

 ·      Keep windows closed and run the air conditioning, both in the house and the car.  This filters out pollen, creating a “safe” zone.

·      Take shoes off at the door and ask guests to do the same.  This helps keep allergens out.

·      Clean 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.   

·      Do not line dry clothes or sheets in warmer weather.  They will collect pollen while they hang outside. 

·      Do not smoke as it only makes allergy symptoms worse. 

·      Indoor pets that go outside to relieve themselves can bring back in pollen.  Wipe them down with allergy wipes to remove the majority of it. 

·      Take allergy medicine such as an antihistamine.  Antihistamines block the body’s response to allergies and usually work in less than an hour.  A doctor can recommend the best ones to use as some antihistamines can make one sleepy. 

·      For more severe allergies or if antihistamines aren’t doing the trick, allergy shots are an effective alternative.

·      Start taking medicine at least one week before allergy season arrives and symptoms appear.  Doing so helps the medicine take effect by the time it is needed.