During this time of year, those with seasonal allergies may start to notice an increase in symptoms. The first day of Spring was March 20th so it is important to know what to do to cope with spring allergies!
The exact cause of allergies is unknown, but an allergy occurs when your immune system produces antibodies to something seemingly harmless like pollen. Your immune system is mistaking these allergens for dangerous substances causing it to fight them off with the “immunoglobulin E” or IgE antibodies. These produce histamine that cause the symptoms of allergies.
Spring allergy symptoms are typically respiratory. Some of the most common symptoms are:
Itchy or Watery Eyes
Ways You Can Prepare for Allergy Season:
1. Hand Hygiene: Allergy sufferers sneeze and cough droplets into the air and spread germs onto common surfaces, which creates a cycle of germ transmission. These germs put us at risk for getting sick. Proper hand washing is the gold standard to combat these germs.
2. Start Treating Early: You can start taking over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays two weeks before you typically start to feel your allergy symptoms. Antihistamines reduce or block histamines that cause your allergy symptoms. Pretreating with allergy medication can help ease your stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes and other allergy symptoms.
You may also want to consider immunotherapy allergy shots. This treatment injects small amounts of allergens into your body over time to increase your immunity.
3. Spring Cleaning: Spring cleaning includes dusting everything from the light fixtures to the bookcases, washing curtains, sweeping floors and rugs, even vacuuming furniture. This will remove any dust and pollen that has made its way inside and can make allergy season more bearable.
4. Keep Pollen Out: It may be tempting to turn off the heat, open windows, and let the fresh air in BUT doing so will also bring the allergens inside your home. Keeping your windows and doors closed will foster a clean allergy-free environment so you can breathe easy.
If you are out sprucing up the yard, make sure you change your clothes and shower when you are done. Pollen can stick to your clothes and hair, making it easy to track allergens throughout your home.
Another place to control pollen is in your car. Keep your car windows closed and the AC on re-circulation to help keep pollen out of the car.
5. Change Your Air Filter: It is best to change your air filter seasonally, about every 3 months. This is essential in helping to keep the air inside your home clean. Air filters are generally inexpensive and simple to change on your own!