Spring is in the air, and so begins a season of sunshine, flowers and…sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes! Pollen, one of the biggest allergy triggers in spring, occurs when these tiny grains are released into the air from trees, grasses and weeds. When pollen gets in your nose, if you’re allergic, your body's defenses go wild, producing the symptoms above. Here’s a quick list of ten things you can do to reduce your allergic reaction to pollens in the spring.
1. Keep your windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting pollen in, especially when the local pollen count is high. When possible, set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle, to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
2. Pollen counts are the highest between 5am and 10am, so limiting your time outside during those hours can be extremely helpful for diminishing your allergies.
3. Try to stay indoors on mornings that are especially warm and dry; these will usually be the high pollen count days. Days that are dry and windy also have high pollen counts. The best time for outdoor activities is immediately following a heavy rainfall.
4. Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
5. Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen. Also, change and wash clothes if you’ve been outside awhile. Change your clothes in the bathroom, not the bedroom.
5. Bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed to remove pollen from hair and skin in order to keep it off your bedding. Wash bedding in warm or hot, soapy water once a week.
6. Minimize contact with items that have been exposed to pollen, such as pets and people that have spent a large amount of time outdoors.
7. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, and in severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
8. Take antihistamines as prescribed.
9. Use over-the-counter allergy eye drops and artificial tears for your eyes. Keep them in the refrigerator. Cool compresses for your eyes are also helpful.
10. Many people can’t wait for spring and the warmer weather. But for others, it signals the beginning of discomfort. Hopefully, the above recommendations will help you weather the spring pollen season so you too can enjoy the season of rebirth and renewal!
At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Care, our allergists can assess your allergies and come up with a treatment plan that can help you, whether to help reduce your symptoms, or work toward a treatment via allergy drops, for example. We have offices in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.
- Richard Lee M.D.