Between itchy eyes, a runny nose, and the inconvenience of not feeling your best, it can seem like you’re at the mercy of the season when you suffer from springtime allergies.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the severity of your reactions. This year, follow these simple tips to lessen your spring allergy symptoms.
Understand What Causes Allergies
Trees, grasses, and other plants produce pollen in the spring and release it into the air to reproduce by coming into contact with other plants. Pollen particles are tiny, and the wind can carry them for miles before they find another tree — or an unsuspecting allergy sufferer. Because there’s no way to avoid grasses and trees entirely, it can be challenging to spend time outdoors without experiencing severe allergic reactions.
Plan Your Outdoor Time to Minimize Allergy Symptoms
When you need to be outside during allergy season, there’s not much you can do to avoid pollen in the air, but you can minimize its effects. Instead of hunkering down indoors, planning your outdoor time strategically can make a dramatic difference in allergic reactions.
Stay Indoors in the Morning
Most plants release more pollen between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. With elevated levels of pollen in the air, this makes the morning a difficult time to be outside for spring allergy sufferers, even more so when it’s windy. When you can, stay indoors during this time.
Check the Pollen Count Before Going Outside
Know when the pollen count is extra high by checking the levels through the National Allergy Bureau. When there’s a significant concentration of pollen that you’re sensitive to, limit your time outdoors, and make sure you have enough allergy medication available.
Equip Yourself to be Outdoors
If you must be outside during the morning or when pollen counts are high, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your symptoms.
- Shower after you’ve been outside to get the pollen off your body and out of your hair. If you can’t shower, try wearing a cap.
- Wear a pollen-specific facemask.
- Get outside in the evening or after it rains, when pollen count is the lowest.
- If you have allergy meds, take them before you go outside rather than afterwards when your symptoms are already heightened.
Make Your Home a Reduced-Allergen Zone
There’s no way to avoid pollen, even if you stayed indoors for the entirety of allergy season. No matter how hard we try, pollen can still find its way inside. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure your home environment is as clean and symptom-free as possible.
Shut the Windows
While it’s tempting to open all the windows, especially during the spring, keeping windows closed during allergy season is an effective way to keep the majority of pollen out of your home. When pollen counts are high, stay indoors, shut the windows, and use the air-conditioning or a fan to stay cool.
Limit Contact with Items That Have Been Outside
Pollen tends to stick to fabric and hair, leading to ongoing agitation after you come indoors. Avoid latent allergy attacks by limiting exposure to clothes after you come indoors. Change your clothes after you spend time outside, and wash them after each use. If you use a clothesline, don’t hang sheets or clothes outside during allergy season.
Pollen clings to dust particles like glue. Dusty places in your home like bookshelves, fan blades, and curtains or blinds can harbor dust and pollen particles that exacerbate allergy symptoms. One way to reduce potential symptoms indoors is to dust and vacuum your house thoroughly before allergy season hits. Second, vacuum your house a few times a week while wearing a pollen-specific dust mask, and make sure you dust regularly. Finally, switch out your home’s air filters every 30 days.
Filter Your Air
A portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter removes dust and other particles from the air. Using a HEPA filter in your bedroom or other rooms where you spend a lot of time can help relieve allergy symptoms in your home.
Talk to Your Doctor about Allergy Treatment Options
With the internet at our fingertips, it can be tempting to search for answers rather than asking a physician for help. However, talking to your doctor is still the best way to decide what’s best for you and your individual allergy needs so you can develop a customized treatment plan — something the internet just can’t provide.
Now, it’s easier than ever to connect with a doctor, especially with virtual visits, telehealth options, and a convenient mobile app from Canopy Health. The following are some general treatment options that may help alleviate your allergy symptoms.
Try an Over-the-Counter Medication
Consistently using decongestant nasal spray is an effective short-term solution to allergic congestion. It’s not, however, a sustainable way to relieve symptoms. Prolonged use can decrease its effectiveness. Talk to your doctor or allergist about what over-the-counter medication is best for you.
Take an Asthma and Allergy Screening Test
Getting screened for allergies and asthma is one of the best ways to prepare for allergy season. Getting screened can help you learn about triggers, manage symptoms, and get answers to your questions about living with seasonal allergies. Canopy Health offers free asthma and allergy screenings as part of the Canopy Health Alliance. Schedule your free screening and prepare for allergy season today.