Posted on 04-13-2015
Ah, the month of April. The weather gets warmer and flowers boom. But, alas, pesky pollen is released into the air causing a nightmare for allergy sufferers. Common outdoor allergy triggers are tree, grass, and weed pollen. Indoor triggers include animal dander, dust mites and mold spores. Every year about 40 million Americans suffer from Hay fever also known as seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. Sniffling, sneezing, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes can be annoying, but allergies can trigger asthma if not controlled.
Here are some allergy season survival tips:
- Treat allergies early. Start taking medications before pollen season (around mid- February). This could prevent the symptom snowball effect.
- Control your environment! Keep an eye on the pollen counts. Use a mask if working outdoors. HEPA filters should be changed in furnaces and vacuum cleaners. Use the recirculation air setting in your vehicle. Try not to use a humidifier or vaporizer as these can aggravate mold and dust mites.
- Know your OTC meds. Over the counter nasal sprays, inhalants and oral antihistamines are not habit forming, but can lose effectiveness over time. Be sure to take "non sedating" formulations if you are not going straight to bed, as drowsiness can be a side effect. Use caution with decongestants designed for colds and flu. These are meant to be taken on a short term basis, usually a week or less. Also consult with a physician before taking these is you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or heart disease.
- Consult an Allergist. An Allergist narrow down what you are allergic to and develop a treatment plan. "Allergy shots" are a treatment option that uses the bodies immune system to tolerate the allergen, so the body doesn't see it as a threat.
Eye symptoms such as swelling, tearing, and redness can cause misery but there are several prescription eye medications (drops) available to help. Consult with your eye doctor to find which will work best for you, as some eye drops can't be used with contact lenses. Some also can cause significant side effects and doctor supervision is advised.
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