4 Steps You Can Take to Cope with Seasonal Allergies
Spring is a beautiful time of year, but all the blooms and buds can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, runny noses and other uncomfortable symptoms for people who have seasonal allergies.
But before you let your seasonal allergies prevent you from enjoying the outdoors this spring, there are some steps you can take that may be able to bring your symptoms under control.
Step 1: Identify your allergy triggers.
Seasonal allergy symptoms flare up when your immune system overreacts to allergens, or “triggers,” such as mold and pollen from trees, grass, and weeds. Knowing your triggers can help you figure out the best way to control your allergy symptoms.
In some cases, you may be able to figure out your triggers on your own by paying attention to when your allergy symptoms flare up. For example, if you get itchy eyes and a runny nose every time you mow your lawn, you may be allergic to grass pollen.
However, triggers are not always so obvious—and there is a possibility that you could have multiple seasonal allergy triggers. If you have severe seasonal allergies and are having a hard time figuring out the cause, you might want to ask your primary healthcare provider about seeing an allergist. An allergist can perform skin tests or blood tests that can help you identify your triggers.
Step 2: Limit your outdoor exposure to allergy triggers.
Limiting your exposure to allergy triggers may seem like common sense, but it can be difficult if you want to spend time outdoors. That’s because pollen and mold are airborne, which means you could potentially breathe them in anytime you step outside.
Here are some things you can do to minimize your exposure to outdoor allergy triggers:
- Stay inside when it is windy and dry, or when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid going outside during peak pollen times of day (usually evening in the spring and summer, and morning in the fall).
- Hire someone or ask a family member to help with outdoor tasks that cause you to have symptoms, such as cutting grass or weeding your garden.
- Wear a pollen mask if you are working outside.
Step 3: Avoid bringing outdoor allergy triggers inside.
Keeping allergens out of your home can be especially challenging. However, there are a few extra steps you can take to help, including:
- Removing and washing clothes worn outdoors.
- Showering after being outdoors.
- Using the clothes dryer instead of hanging laundry outside.
- Keeping doors and windows closed, especially when pollen counts are high.
Another thing that people with seasonal allergies sometimes overlook is their pets. Although you may not be allergic to your cat or dog, animals that spend time outdoors can collect allergens on their fur and bring them into your home. Regularly bathing and brushing your pet and vacuuming any furniture, beds or carpets where your pet spends time may help.
Step 4: Treat allergy symptoms.
There are several over-the-counter allergy medications that might be able to help you control your symptoms, including:
- Antihistamines. These medications relieve symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.
- Decongestants. These medications relieve a stuffy nose and come in pill, liquid or nasal spray form.
- Combination medications. These medications include a decongestant and an antihistamine.
However, before you start taking a new medication, it is a good idea to talk to your primary healthcare provider to find out which would be best for your symptoms. You also should make sure the medication is safe for you.
If your allergies are severe or do not get better with over-the-counter medications, your primary healthcare provider can refer you to an allergist for help.
An allergist may be able to offer another treatment option called allergen immunotherapy, which is commonly known as allergy shots. Allergy shots require you to get a series of injections that contain a small amount of the allergen. The shots work by reducing your immune system’s response to the allergen over time. Allergen immunotherapy for certain allergies can be given using tablets that dissolve under your tongue.
If you are suffering from seasonal allergies, the nurse practitioners (NPs) at The Nurse’s Office are here for you. To find out more about how the NPs at The Nurse’s Office can help you manage your seasonal allergy symptoms, visit www.thenursesoffice.com, contact us or call (860) 603-3541 or walk in for immediate care.