Top 7 tips to help you survive spring allergies
Editor’s Note: The following is sponsored content from Prisma Health.
As the chill finally starts to leave the air this time of year, some people start dreaming of backyard parties and the first beach vacation of the season. And then there are those who know that warmer temperatures mean runny noses, itchy throats and watery eyes.
While it’s nearly impossible for those with allergies to avoid being outside in the spring, there are a few proactive steps you can take to make the season bearable, or even enjoyable:
1) Make sure you’re using the right allergy medication. Not all over-the-counter options are created equal. In many cases, nasal sprays are the most effective form of medication, because they apply relief directly to the irritated nasal passages. If over-the-counter options don’t seem to be working for you, talk to your doctor about prescription options.
2) Start taking allergy medication now. Even though our weather is still fluctuating between winter and spring, it’s actually the perfect time to begin an allergy medication regiment. Since allergy medication is helping your body build immunity to its irritants, it can take several weeks for the medicine to go into full effect. It’s best to begin while the weather is still cooler, so by the time spring is here to stay, your body will be fully prepared.
3) Keep windows closed. It can be tempting to open up the windows and let fresh air circulate throughout your home on a nice spring day, but that fresh air brings thousands of outside irritants with it. For those with severe allergies, it’s best to leave windows closed and use fans to circulate air instead.
4) Wash off things that have been outside, including pets, clothes and yourself! Give outside pets more frequent baths or limit their time outside if possible to avoid bringing allergens inside. Similarly, severe allergy sufferers may benefit from changing their clothes once they’ve been outside for extended periods of time.
5) Just like we can wash our cars to clean off that pollen, we can also wash our noses. In fact, a very effective way to help relieve some allergy symptoms is to begin a daily or twice daily nasal saline irrigation. Irrigation bottles, salt packets and distilled water are readily available over-the-counter at most grocery stores and pharmacies. If you are doing irrigations, adding an antihistamine may be effective for you. You can also wash your face and hands when coming in from the outdoors, and for more significant allergy sufferers, a change of clothes after being outside can also help.
6) Upstate South Carolina is a region that has one of the highest allergen loads in the country. Watch WSPA-TV or visit WSPA.com for pollen counts, and if you suffer from severe allergies, consider indoor activities on the days pollen counts are very high.
7) If you’ve tried over-the-counter medicines, irrigations and environmental controls with no relief, it may be time to see an allergy specialist for evaluation and treatment.
About the Author
Erin Mullaney, MD, is an allergist with Acadia Allergy and Immunology in Greenville, SC. Dr. Mullaney is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina and completed a fellowship in Allergy & Immunology at the University of Alabama – Birmingham. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Allergy & Immunology.