Another season in the books. Time to put the winter coat and shovel away. Time to enjoy the longer days, the warmer weather and blooming flowers and trees. Wait, that last one often isn’t something to enjoy. Spring blooms trigger allergy and asthma in so many.
That pesky thing called pollen—sneezing, sniffling and itching day after day, enough to make you want to stay inside and not enjoy the changing season. So, what to do? While there is no cure, you can follow these tips to make the most of your springtime. First, do you even know what you are allergic to? Trees, grass, weeds?
It is easy to know that the same time each year you experience symptoms, but to what? Talk with your healthcare provider and see if testing for common allergens is beneficial. Knowing what to avoid is equally important as working to avoid them.
Know your outdoor air quality. If you need to be outside, plan your day and be aware of any obvious triggers. The quality of the air is a direct correlation to your experience with allergies and asthma. Check the forecast daily with the local sources—windy days carry more pollen toward you and rainy days clear the air. Keep your doors and windows closed and consider using an air purifier.
If the quality is good enough to venture outside, determine if you really need to do that lawn maintenance. Assuming you don’t have the luxury of hiring someone to do it for you, consider wearing a particle mask (available at hardware stores) to avoid breathing in more pollen and particles.
Use your medications as prescribed, even if over the counter.
It is impossible to completely avoid the allergens in the air, so preventative prescriptions are key. Antihistamines, decongestants, steroidal sprays all work ease the inflammation causing those annoying effects. Even if you are feeling well, you should not skip a dose.
Talk to your doctor about immunotherapy. This is the idea of gradually increasing doses of the allergen in your body until your body can handle it. The treatment can relieve symptoms for a longer period of time than allergy medications.
Also, talk to your doctor about natural remedies. Neti pots to irrigate the nasal passages, herbs long used to relieve symptoms and beefing up on nutrients found in certain foods have all shown to help some block the release of histamines.
Finally, know that pollen will get into your home regardless. Keep the air filters clean as well as removing dust from shelves and vents. Wash your hair after going outside as allergens can collect there. And, vacuum twice a week (wearing a mask) to kick up and remove that pollen, mold and dust trapped in your carpet.
There is no escaping Spring allergies. And if you are one of the many who suffer during this time of year, do a bit of homework to help prevent and keep pollen at bay. Spring has so much to offer that you don’t want to miss the entire season because you succumb to allergies. Take action and enjoy the season!