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Published on March 01, 2016

Nip Spring Allergies in the Bud

March 1, 2016

woman blowing her noseSpring has sprung and with it has come an increase in pollen levels that lead to some of the most serious seasonal allergies. Creating an allergen-free zone at home can help keep symptoms to a minimum.

A runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and a tickle in your throat that start when plants begin to bloom are all telltale signs of spring allergies. Spring allergies can begin as early as February and last into the beginning of summer. The most common causes include mold and pollen from grass and trees.

Allergy-free Sanctuary

You can help alleviate allergy symptoms by eliminating allergens inside your home. Start with a thorough cleaning of all surfaces. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may aggravate respiratory symptoms and don’t forget to wash the windows.

Pay special attention to soft surfaces, such as pillows and mattresses, where allergens like to linger. Vacuum these and other surfaces with a machine that uses a high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter. You may also want to use a HEPA filter in your HVAC system and air purifier.

These filters are designed to capture extremely tiny particles of dust and other allergens. The fewer allergens in circulation in your home, the better your symptoms will be when you are indoors.

Keep windows and doors shut whenever possible, because the loveliest days typically have the highest pollen counts. If you need to air out the house, do so on a rainy day when pollen counts are lower.

Store shoes and spring jackets that can get coated in pollen at the door to prevent spreading allergens through your home. If you’ve been outdoors, change clothes as soon as you get home and jump in the shower to wash off troublesome allergen particles. The same goes for pets that play outside. Wash them frequently or rub them down with towels when it’s time to come inside.

When In Doubt

Banishing allergens from your home may not be enough to eliminate your spring allergy symptoms. If you know you suffer from seasonal allergies, start taking allergy medications before symptoms begin for the best results. If over-the-counter medications aren’t helping, see your doctor. You may benefit from advanced treatment options such as immunotherapy or you might need stronger medication.

Doctors can also help pinpoint exactly what is causing allergy symptoms and that helps narrow down your fight on allergens. Once you know your spring allergy enemy, you can work to eliminate contact and look forward to fewer sniffles this time of year.

Are Allergy Shots Right for You?

An allergic reaction occurs when a harmless substance, such as a grass pollen spore, enters the body and is incorrectly identified as dangerous. The immune system kicks into overdrive, attacking the allergen to keep you safe—and causing familiar allergy symptoms such as sneezing and sniffling.

Also known as immunotherapy, allergy shots are used by doctors to help your body build up a natural tolerance to the specific allergens that cause you to react. This can be a helpful option for people whose allergies are not well controlled by medication and preventive measures.

Allergy shots are not an overnight solution to the sniffles. They may take several months or years to become effective as doctors carefully expose you to higher amounts of the trigger allergen. In time, this therapy is typically very effective and relief can last for years.

KishHealth System Physician Group Allergy and Immunology specialist Peter Baum, MD offers treatment of bronchial astham, sinusitis, and allergic conditions such as hay fever, eczema and hives. Learn more about Dr. Baum.

Sources: consumerreports.org, nafahq.org, acaai.org, aafa.org, aaaai.org, acaai.org,airpurifierguide.org

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