Tips to keep spring allergies at bay
Sneeze, cough, scratch — repeat. If you’re one of the 25 million adults and children in the U.S. who suffer from seasonal allergies, the biggest signs of spring may not be budding flowers and green trees. But rather, pesky symptoms like a runny nose and watery eyes can affect your daily life.
“When seasonal allergies get in the way of your spring fun, try incorporating these quick tips to keep your symptoms at bay,” says Smruti Parikh, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist at Summit Health. If you need help developing a treatment plan, walk right into your neighborhood CityMD or visit a specialist at Summit Health.
Nip allergy triggers in the bud by reducing exposure.
- Windy days mean pollen is flying around. So, stay inside if you can, or wear a mask to protect yourself from breathing in allergens.
- Stay out of the garden and avoid activities such as lawn mowing, which kicks up pollen into the air.
- If you have been taking part in outdoor activities, change your clothes and shower off the pollen from your skin and hair.
- Keep the outside air from coming in — close windows and doors when pollen counts are high.
Schedule your outdoor time well.
- Be aware of the forecasted pollen counts for your area and plan accordingly.
- Stick to the afternoon when pollen counts are lower for outdoor activities.
Keep indoor air clean.
- Pump up the air conditioning in your house and car.
- Upgrade to high-efficiency air filters for your vacuum cleaner and your home heating and cooling systems to keep the air cleaner.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry and portable. Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in bedroom areas.
Cleanse your nasal passages.
- Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution to flush out mucus and allergens from your nose. If you use a kit or homemade saline solution, avoid tap water, and use distilled or sterilized water to reduce infection risk. You should rinse the cleansing bulb after each use to keep it clean and dry.
Use over-the-counter remedies to ease allergy symptoms.
Before taking any medications check with your CityMD or Summit Health provider to see what treatment is best for you.
- Antihistamines can help temporarily relieve sneezing, itching, a stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes.
- Decongestants help provide relief from nasal stuffiness. Some allergy medications are both an antihistamine and a decongestant.
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays improve nasal symptoms.
- Antihistamine nasal sprays can relieve sneezing, congestion, and an itchy nose.
Try prescription medication or allergy shots if all else fails.
If you are unable to find any relief with over-the-counter options, your physician may prescribe medication. They may also suggest allergy shots, known as allergen immunotherapy, as a treatment. These regular injections contain small amounts of the allergen you are allergic to. Over time, repeated exposure helps reduce the reaction from the immune system that is causing your symptoms.
Your neighborhood CityMD or Summit Health provider can diagnose and recommend the best course of action to treat your seasonal allergies. If further evaluation is needed, skin or blood tests can help determine exactly what allergens are causing your symptoms.
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Visit any CityMD urgent care location in your community today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.