Spring has arrived, and while that means flowers will be blooming and warmer days are ahead, it also means seasonal allergies will begin for the millions of Americans affected. For many, symptoms of seasonal allergies can make every-day life miserable, but knowing your triggers and how to treat them can help make spring-time more enjoyable.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the most common triggers of seasonal allergies (also called hay fever) are grass, pollen, and mold. A common way to figure out which ones are affecting you is to check the pollen and mold counts and monitor your symptoms when they’re high. These counts are often included in the weather report during allergy season.
Once you identify the cause of your allergies, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms.
- Stay indoors in the afternoon- pollen and mold counts are usually highest in the afternoon, so avoiding the outdoors as much as possible during this time (especially when counts are high) can help tremendously.
- Keep windows closed and use air-conditioning- While it may be tempting to open windows in your house or drive your car with the windows down when the weather’s nice, this can allow the pollen to get into your home or car and worsen the response. When allergy counts are high, be sure to keep all windows closed and use air-conditioning as often as possible.
- Take over the counter medication- If staying indoors isn’t always possible for you, you may want to take an over-the counter medication like Claritin or Zicam. If after a week or two you find these medications aren’t working, you can schedule an appointment with an allergist to get a stronger prescription medication or allergy shots.
If you watch pollen counts and do everything you can on your own to manage symptoms and your allergies worsen, you may want to schedule an appointment with an allergist in your area.