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8 ways to combat spring allergies

Spring is in the air-- and unfortunately, so is pollen. If you experience itchy, watery eyes, stuffiness and a scratchy throat every time you step outside, you may be suffering from springtime allergies.

But don’t resign yourself to a lifetime spent indoors. Try these 8 preventative measures to stay ahead of your symptoms:

1. Take an antihistamine at the first sign of symptoms. An over-the-counter antihistamine can be used at the first sign of the sniffles, especially if you are prone to allergies. They are effective at relieving most people’s symptoms by blocking the effects of histamine and are safe for long-term use.

2. Monitor the pollen count. Keep an eye on the pollen and mold counts, and plan outdoor activities accordingly. Pollens surge on dry, windy days and drop on rainy days.

3. Remove clothing you’ve worn outdoors and shower every night.  If you’ve been outdoors, remove your clothes and shoes to avoid bringing pollen into your home.  And shower at the end of the day to remove allergens from your skin and hair, so you won’t breathe them in while you’re sleeping.

4. Close windows. Pollen can enter your home through the windows, so it’s best to keep windows closed when the pollen count is high. Set your air conditioner to re-circulate, so pollen-rich air from outside won’t be brought in. And consider changing your air filters. Spring is a good time for seasonal maintenance.

5. Try a salt water flush. Cleaning nasal passages with a salt water solution is a great way to remove mucus from the nose and reduce nasal stuffiness. You can buy saline nose sprays at your pharmacy or you can make your own solution of salt, baking soda and water.

6. Check indoor humidity levels. Mold spores increase during damp spring months, so it is important to check areas of your home for mold or mildew growth. Keep your indoor humidity level at 50 percent or less.

7. Ask about allergy shots. If you are looking for a permanent solution, allergy shots may be the answer. By injecting tiny amounts of an allergen over a period of time, allergy shots help your body build up a tolerance to that allergen.

8. Workout indoors. Allergies can trigger asthma, making it difficult to exercise outdoors. So instead of going for a jog outside, run on the treadmill or go swimming at the gym. And if you really want to go outdoors, make sure you exercise in the morning or late evening when the pollen count is low.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

 

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