By Dr. Devon Ballard, Sherwood Family Medical Center-A Baptist Health Affiliate
Spring means flower buds and blooming trees, but if you’re one of the millions of people with seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other unwanted symptoms. Don’t wait until you have symptoms—here are our top tips for preventing seasonal allergy flare-ups.
When should I do something about it?
If you know you usually have trouble with spring allergies, don’t wait until you have symptoms. Start now and help your body build up immunity, and you can have a much better allergy season.
What should I start with?
- Oral antihistamines: Zyrtec and Claritin are two popular allergy medication brands. Taking one a day can help you if you are prone to allergy symptoms.
- Nasal spray: Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects. It is most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start. Many of these medications can now be bought over-the-counter.
What else can I do?
To reduce your exposure to things that may trigger your allergy signs and symptoms (allergens):
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
- Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Don’t hang laundry outside—pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
- Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.
What if I’m still having trouble?
See your doctor and consider being tested for allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy treatment that can reduce or stop allergy attacks. If you do not have a primary care provider, find one here.