Spring allergies are now in full bloom. The spring allergy season kicked off with tree pollen and in some parts of the country this has been joined by grass pollen. Many of you have already experienced that yearly increase in nasal and eye symptoms. While pollen allergies lead to the more obvious symptoms of runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes, allergic reactions to pollen often leads to some less obvious symptoms.
Allergies are one of the leading triggers for asthma. If you experience more coughing, bronchitis, chest tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing during the pollen season, these symptoms may be triggered by your allergies. Allergies also increase the rate of sinus and ear infections. Allergic inflammation can prevent the ears and sinuses from draining properly which in-turn makes you more likely to develop infections. Getting control of your spring allergies will not only provide relief from your nasal and eye symptoms, it often reduces your need for asthma medications and antibiotics.
Minimizing your exposure to spring pollens will reduce your allergy symptoms. Some basic avoidance tips include:
· Keep windows closed to prevent pollens from drifting into your home.
· Minimize early morning activity when pollen is usually emitted — between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m.
· Keep your car windows closed when traveling.
· Stay indoors when the pollen count (which is available from our home page) is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.
· Machine dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry.
Of course, avoidance is not always practical. We want to be outdoors and enjoy the spring weather which means exposing ourselves to pollen. Regular use of your allergy medications such as nasal steroids and antihistamines will help control your allergy symptoms. If medications are not providing complete relief or if you prefer to avoid regular mediation use, consider allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy) to gain better control of your allergies. This non-medication treatment contains natural extracts of allergens and slowly reduces the severity of your allergic reactions. Over and over this has been shown to be the most effective treatment for pollen allergies. Allergy shots are effective for 85% of patients, reduce the need for medication and in the long run are less expensive than medication use.
You do not need to live with allergy symptoms and relief is available. If you are experiencing spring allergies, make an appointment with your local Allergy Partners office.