Stay on top of spring allergies

Allergies_167429662Bless you. Gesundheit. Salud. If you suffer from spring allergies, you’ve heard them all — a lot. As the grass and pollen hit the airwaves, it can be difficult to get allergies under control. Your best bet is to try to stay in front of them with a clear diagnosis and some expert advice on allergy management from the KC Health Care Trust Employee Clinic.

According to WebMD, 58 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies or, as it’s more commonly known, hay fever. The symptoms: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, dark circles under your eyes, even asthma. These symptoms can begin as soon as it warms up in the spring and last through early summer. They are worse on breezy days that stir up the pollen and push it through the air, landing in your nose and causing your histamines to attack what your immune system sees as tiny invaders to your system.

If you suffer these allergy symptoms but have never been officially diagnosed, it’s important to talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner who can recommend your best course of treatment. Whether over the counter or by prescription, they know best which medicines will be most effective for treating your symptoms and can help you strategize a path to better breathing.

More than 2/3 of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). These symptoms can get especially out of hand in the spring. To better control them, the ACAAI recommends beginning medications two weeks before spring or warmer weather.

In addition to prescription help for allergies, WebMD recommends trying to avoid your main allergy triggers. Here are its tips:

  • Try to stay indoors whenever the pollen count is very high (pollen counts usually peak in the mornings).
  • Keep your doors and windows closed whenever possible during the spring months to keep allergens out. An air purifier may also help.
  • Clean the air filters in your home often. Also, clean bookshelves, vents and other places where pollen can collect.
  • Wash your hair after going outside because pollen can collect there.
  • Vacuum twice a week. Wear a mask because vacuuming can kick up pollen, mold and dust that were trapped in your carpet.