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Spring is in the Air – Literally

Some see beautiful blossoms as trees and flowers bloom. About 50 million others in the United States (those who suffer from nasal allergies) see an attack from the yellow pollen that seems to be everywhere flying through the air.  The bright colors of the flowers are blurry through itchy/watery eyes.  Other symptoms can include sneezing, wheezing, congestion, coughing, running nose, itchy throat and skin, fatigue and headaches.  According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 30 percent of adults suffer from allergies and that number is on the increase. Pay attention to your body though, if you’re unsure if it is allergies, stop by an urgent care center to be safe.

You don’t have to completely be at the mercy of nature, though. There are steps that can be taken to try and minimize the effects of allergies.

Prevention

Reducing exposure to elements that trigger symptoms is the first place to start.  Most local news outlets have started to report on the pollen count.  When the report is high, be extra vigilant.  Take allergy medications before symptoms start for maximum effectiveness.  Pollen counts are highest in the morning, so if possible, avoid outside activity during that time.  Keep doors and windows closed and set the car to have air circulating from the inside, instead of outside. While the idea of a fresh breeze blowing through your home or car sounds lovely, the results of the pollen which are being invited in are not so pleasant.  Avoid cigarette smoke which can aggravate symptoms. (Of course, avoiding cigarette smoke is a good idea in general.)

Home

There are steps that you can take in your home to try and minimize the allergens.  Choose an air conditioner with a high-efficiency filter and keep the air dry with a dehumidifier.  Dampness breeds mold.  There are also portable HEPA filters which can be beneficial in the bedroom for better sleep.  Use comforters, mattress covers and pillows that are allergen-proof.

Keeping Clean

Sheets should be washed at least once a week in hot water. Allergen-proof pillows also can and should be washed in hot water. Don’t undo the benefits of the washing by air drying the laundry outside; use the dryer.  Vacuum often, preferably with a cleaner that has a HEPA filter.  And when you come in at the end of the day, remove the clothes that you’ve worn and then shower to rinse the pollen from your hair and body.  In addition to removing allergens, the hot water may also clear your congestion.  Rinsing nasal passages with a saline solution (such as with a neti pot or squeeze bottle) is another remedy for helping to relieve congestion, by directly flushing away the allergens.

Don’t be held prisoner indoors by pollen. With some precautions, awareness and extra care, allergy symptoms can be managed to allow you to enjoy the increasing daylight and beautiful Spring weather.

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