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Coping With Spring Allergies
Ah, spring. The snow is gone, the trees are budding, grass and flowers are coming up. While that is often a welcome change from winter, it can be less welcome to people who suffer from spring allergies.
Pollen is the biggest trigger of spring allergies, and pollen comes from a variety of sources, including trees, plants, grass and weeds. The symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itching and watery eyes, and dark circles under your eyes.
You don’t have to suffer in silence, however. There are things you can do to feel better, including:
Monitor the counts. Radio and TV stations as well as many web sites can give you the counts for pollen, mold and other allergens in your area. When the counts are high, try to stay indoors as much as possible.
Close your windows. That can help keep allergens out of your home. If it is warm, run your air conditioner.
Use a high-efficiency filter on your furnace and air-conditioning, and change the filter regularly.
Use your clothes dryer. Don’t hang clothes on the line, because they will pick up allergens and bring them into your home.
Vacuum with a HEPA filter. Regular vacuuming can remove allergens that come into your home.
Avoid mowing, weeding, etc. If you can’t find someone else to handle these chores, wear a mask that protects against allergens.
Shower when you come inside. When you come in from outdoors, remove your clothes as soon as possible and put them in the washer. Then shower to remove allergens from your skin and hair.
Medications also can help relieve allergy symptoms.
You can take over-the-counter medication to combat symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what over-the counter drugs would be best for you, and make sure you understand any side effects, such as drowsiness.
Most allergy medication falls into one of several categories:
If your allergies are severe and do not respond to over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor about prescription medications and allergen testing.
- Antihistamines, which reduce sneezing, itching and sniffling.
- Decongestants, which reduce congestion in your head and nasal passages.
- Steroid nasal sprays, which can work faster than oral decongestants.
- Combination antihistamine/decongestant medication.
- Eye drops, which relieve itchy eyes.