Spring Allergies Tips To Ease Your Allergy Symptoms
Northern Virginia residents are keeping their tissue boxes close by in preparation for the peak of the spring allergy season. The blooming flowers and budding trees associated with the return of spring marks an increase in itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and other allergy symptoms.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” affects more than 20% of the people living in the United States, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Allergies are triggered by substances called allergens, such as pollen or mold spores. Many trees, grasses and weeds contain small and light pollens that are easily carried by the wind, causing allergy symptoms to flare up in the spring.
One of the best ways to help prevent allergy attacks is to start taking medication prescribed by your physician about a week before peak allergy season in your area begins. With continued use of medication and avoidance of potential triggers, allergic symptoms can be minimized.
In addition to timing medication, the following tips can help allergy sufferers find some relief this spring:
• Do a thorough spring cleaning – windows, book shelves and air conditioning vents collect dust and mold throughout the winter that can provoke allergy symptoms.
• Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen times are usually early in the morning.
• Take medications at least 30 minutes prior to outdoor activity. Consult with your doctor to ensure medications are helping you and notify your doctor when reactions to medications occur.
• Shut the windows in your house on days pollen counts are high. Avoid using fans that may draw pollen inside.
• Wash bedding weekly in hot water.
• Dry your laundry indoors. Sheets hanging on an outside line are an easy target for blowing pollen.
• Shower and wash your hair before bed – pollen can collect on your hair and skin.
• Keep pets off of the furniture and out of the bedroom. Pollen can cling to the dog or cat after being outside.
• Keep your car windows closed during peak season. Use air conditioning and point vents away from your face.
Seek proper treatment prior to and during your peak allergy season
An allergist/immunologist can work with you to find out what offending allergies trigger your symptoms and discuss treatments to put the spring back into your steps. The most effective way to treat spring allergies is through allergy shots, also called immunotherapy. These shots slowly introduce a little bit of what you are allergic to so your body learns to tolerate it, rather than react with sneezing, wheezing, a stuffy nose or itchy eyes. If you are suffering from spring allergies, speak with your doctor about these options.