How to Survive Spring Allergies
At last, warm weather is here and trees are beginning to bloom! That also means spring allergies are flaring up again.
“Spring allergies are caused by pollens from birch, oak, and maple trees. These pollens can travel far distances through the atmosphere, affecting city dwellers just as much as people living in rural areas,” says Frederick Little, MD, of BMC’s Pulmonary, Critical Care and Allergy Department. “Allergies can develop at any time in adulthood and symptoms can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from the common cold.”
The symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itchy eyes, and sniffling. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and watery eyes. These symptoms can make it difficult to go outside on a beautiful spring day.
Here are some tips to think about before heading outside:
• Check the pollen count and plan to work outside on the days when it is low.
• Close the windows on days when the pollen count is high and use air conditioning to help filter the air.
• Wear a protective facemask if you plan on mowing the grass, gardening, or doing any other work outside.
• When you come inside, take a shower, and wash your hair to get rid of as much of the pollen on your body as possible.
“Over the past ten years, some of the longer-acting, non-sedating antihistamines have become available for sale over the counter like Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec. These medications relieve some of the annoying symptoms of allergies such as the scratchy throat, watery eyes, and running nose but they do not change your body’s immune response to allergens,” warns Little, MD. “People that do not find relief through those over-the-counter medications may find additional help through anti-inflammatory medications such as nasal corticosteroids. These medications can work to decrease the allergic inflammatory response that is being triggered by allergens – helping to relieve nasal congestion and stuffiness associated with allergies.”
If you can’t find relief through over-the-counter medications, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit www.bmctogether.org to select a doctor and schedule an appointment today.