After an unseasonably cold and harsh winter, nothing is more welcome than the approach of spring. We look forward to tulips, crocuses, green grass and budding trees. Although spring means that we can replace heavy coats and gloves with sunglasses and flip flops, spring has its own challenges for millions of individuals with seasonal allergies (Source: Mayo Clinic).
The biggest culprit for spring allergies is pollen: tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses and weeds for fertilization. The body can mistake pollen for a foreign invader and initiate an immune response. Some symptoms of this immune response may include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
Pollen can travel for miles, especially during a dry spell, and these tiny granules can cause misery for over 35 million Americans. What can you do to help prevent the symptoms of spring allergies? Here are some tips to help manage your symptoms this season:
In the Home
- Watch the news, read the newspaper or consult your favorite weather app to stay informed about daily pollen counts.
- Keep windows and doors closed when pollen count is high.
- Wear a dust mask when you do household chores like dusting, vacuuming or sweeping.
- Mop hardwood floors regularly, and wipe down countertops, blinds and other surfaces where pollen can collect.
- Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter in your bedroom and use HEPA filters in your vacuum cleaner.
- Use dehumidifiers and air purifiers in your home to keep air dry and reduce allergens.
- Turn on the air conditioning in your car and in your home.
- Delegate cutting the grass, landscaping and yard work to someone else, or hire a landscaping service.
- Do not dry clothing or bed linens on a clothes line during pollen season.
- Limit outdoor activities when the pollen count is high.
- If over-the-counter medication is not effective, visit your doctor or see an allergist for evaluation. There are also a range of prescription medicine for eye allergies that are more effective than over-the-counter medications, so if over-the-counter medications aren’t doing the trick, be sure to see your eye doctor.
- If you take allergy medication, begin taking your medicine before allergy season begins so the medication will be in your system.