On my way to work this morning, I noticed that the redbud in the backyard was starting to bud. Spring has finally come to my part of the world. With the blooming and budding comes spring tree pollen providing that nice yellow dust on my windshield today. For many, all this blooming and pollen brings the annual struggle with allergies – itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and general misery. For those with asthma, spring pollen can also trigger increased asthma symptoms of cough, wheeze and chest tightness.
While many of us are convinced that where we live is the absolutely worst place for allergies (I certainly do), no topic is complete without a ranking of who’s the best (or worst). Sure enough, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) just published their annual list of Spring Allergy Capitals. You can see the list and report here.
Regardless of whether or not you live in an Allergy Capital, here are some tips to minimize your misery:
• Keep car and home windows closed
• Limit outdoor activities on peak pollen days
• Wear sunglasses when outdoors
• Wipe pets off when they come indoors as they can bring pollen in on their coats
• Start taking your allergy medications before things get bad
If avoidance and medicines are not controlling your allergies, talk to your Allergy Partners allergist to see if immunotherapy is right for you. Immunotherapy (or allergy shots) uses all natural extracts from allergens, such as tree pollen, to build up natural tolerance. Unlike medications that just treat the symptoms, immunotherapy gets to the root cause of allergies and prevents symptoms. And, unlike medications, the positive effects of immunotherapy can last for years after the therapy is stopped. Learn more about immunotherapy here.
By Dr. Bill McCann
Allergy Partners of Western North Carolina