It’s that time of year again. You’re sniffling, sneezing and trying to figure out if it’s a cold or allergies. But if this happens to you every year in the spring, chances are you’re one of about 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies.
So what can you do to make allergy season bearable?
- Start taking over-the-counter allergy medications as soon as the season hits. Don’t wait until your symptoms kick in — it will be much harder to stop an allergic reaction than to prevent it from the beginning.
- Keep track of the pollen forecast and limit your time outdoors on high pollen days. Spend time outdoors when the pollen counts are the lowest: before dawn and in the late afternoon and early evening. Many weather websites also include pollen forecasts.
- Limit your exposure to indoor allergens. This will help reduce the severity of outdoor allergens. It helps to vacuum your furniture, leave your shoes by the door, shower when you come inside, and use a dehumidifier and air purifier with a HEPA filter.
- Avoid clothing made of synthetic fabrics. When they rub together they can create an electrical charge that attracts pollen. Natural fibers, such as cotton, are also breathe better and stay drier, reducing the chances of mold.
When should you see a doctor about allergies?
- If you need consultation on how to manage environmental triggers
- If over-the-counter medicines aren’t enough and you want to talk to an allergist about allergies shots
- If you have a history of seasonal or persistent asthma