Seasonal Allergies—Nip Them in the Bud


1.Limit Your Time Outdoors.

Each spring, trees release billions of tiny pollen grains into the air. When you breathe them into your nose and lungs, they can trigger an allergic reaction. Staying inside can help, especially on windy days and during the early morning hours, when pollen counts are the highest.
When you do head outdoors, wear glasses or sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. A filter mask can help when you mow the lawn or work in the garden. Different types are available, so ask your doctor to suggest one that will work best for you.
Once you head back inside always take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothing, otherwise, you’ll bring pollen into your house.


2. Protect Yourself Early On.

Start taking medicine long before your eyes get watery and you’re sneezing nonstop, at least 1 week before the season begins seems to be the standard. That way, the medicine will be in your system by the time you need it.


3. Take Allergy Medicine

Allergy medicine can help adults and children with sniffles and a runny nose. Antihistamines, which block your body’s response to allergies, usually work in less than an hour. But read the package carefully. Some older drugs, like chlorpheniramine, clemastine, and diphenhydramine can make you drowsy.
For more severe allergies try a nasal spray. But don’t expect symptoms to vanish right away. They may take a few days to work, and since they can have side effects like burning, dryness or nosebleeds, use the lowest dose that controls your symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend allergy shots if other medicines can’t relieve your symptoms. They contain a tiny amount of the pollen and will help your body build up resistance to it. You’ll likely need to get one shot each month for 3 to 5 years.


4. Get Natural Relief

Some herbal remedies may help stave off allergy symptoms. More research is needed, but an extract from a shrub called butterbur shows promise. Biminne, a Chinese herbal formula with ingredients like ginkgo biloba and Chinese skullcap, may also help. One study found that people who took biminne five times a day for 12 weeks still felt the benefits a year later.
Tell your doctor first. Natural or alternative doesn’t necessarily mean safe.
Butterbur may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to plants like ragweed and marigold. Biminne doesn’t always work well with diabetes medicines. And because it’s unclear how these herbs help, the possible long-term side effects are unknown.

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5. Tweak Your Home.

Simple changes make a difference. Shut all windows to keep out pollen. Use an air conditioner to cool your home instead of a fan, which draws in air from outside.
Take off your shoes at the door and ask guests to do the same. That keeps allergens outside.
Clean floors with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. These filters trap 99.97% of microscopic particles in the air. And don’t line dry clothes or sheets in warmer weather! They’ll collect pollen while they hand outside.
Finally, don’t smoke. It can make allergy symptoms worse. If you or someone you live with smokes, now is a good time to quit. If you start smoking again, start over.
Taking a few precautions and extra steps can be the difference of a life lived indoors during the warmer months—or outdoors enjoying activities, friends and animals.