With spring in full swing, you want to enjoy every bit of the warmer weather and longer days. But when you suffer from spring allergies, this time of year can be challenging. Symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion can put a damper on your spring and make it tough to come out of winter hibernation with a positive attitude.
There are steps you can take to prevent and manage your spring allergies, especially when you team up with our expert, Phylis Muthee, NP, ARNP, and the team at Essentia Healthcare in Everett, Washington. We want to equip all our patients with the tools to take control of their health and enjoy optimum wellness. Here are five pro tips to help you do just that.
Spring allergies refer to the most active allergens during the spring season. In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until early spring. In Washington, you may notice an uptick in allergens starting in April and lasting through the summer into September.
Spring is a hard time for seasonal allergy sufferers because plant life awakens from its winter slumber and starts releasing pollen into the air. These tiny particles travel through the air in an attempt to fertilize other plants. Unfortunately, they're also great at fertilizing sniffles in humans.
In an allergy attack, your immune system mistakenly identifies pollen as a threat and attempts to fight back. This response (or overreaction) triggers a release of histamines into your bloodstream, which prompts your nose to run, makes your eyes itch, and causes other frustrating symptoms.
Worse, pollen can travel for miles, so even if you don't think you're around problem plants, you could still be under attack.
Here's how to beat an allergy attack long before your immune system detects an allergen.
Pollen is a common springtime allergy with flowers and trees in full bloom so it's important to know what you're up against. Check your local weather report for the pollen count and plan your outdoor activities around it.
For instance, if the count is high, stay indoors during peak pollen hours (usually early morning and late afternoon). If you can't avoid peak pollen hours, wear a hat and sunglasses to help keep it out of your eyes and hair.
It's tempting to open your windows to let in the fresh air, but doing so quite literally opens the door to an allergy attack by allowing pollen and other allergens to invade your home. Keep your windows closed and consider investing in an air purifier to help filter out any allergens that may have snuck in and be circulating in your home.
Allergens accumulate in your home and hide in dust particles without you realizing it, so keep your living space clean. Vacuum your floors, dust furniture regularly, and wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week. You might also consider using a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner to help trap allergens.
Over-the-counter allergy medications provide fast-acting, long-last relief from your allergy symptoms. Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops can help reduce your symptoms. Talk to us for help finding the best option for you.
If your spring allergies are severe and you're not finding relief from other treatments, allergy shots may be an option. Allergy shots (also known as immunotherapy) involve regular injections of a small amount of the allergen that triggers your symptoms. Over time, the injections help reduce your sensitivity to the allergen and alleviate your symptoms.
Don't dread spring. Team up with us and take back control of your health. If you'd like to talk about more ways to manage spring allergies, call or click to schedule an appointment at our Everett, Washington, office today.