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Springtime Sneezes

7 Tips for Seasonal Allergy Management

For something you can barely see, allergies are pretty powerful. One in five Americans suffers from allergies, which are also the fifth leading chronic disease nationwide. Seasonal allergies can affect people from late winter and early spring through autumn. Their severity can depend on both the environment – places where plants thrive – and personal predisposition.

When your allergies act up, follow these 7 tips to manage the sneezing and sniffling.

1. Protect Your Eyes

Dust, dander and plant pollen from trees, flowers, grass and mold are the most common culprits of seasonal allergies and your eyes are especially sensitive. Wear sunglasses – or your usual eyeglasses – to add that extra protection.

2. Talk to Your Doc

Your primary care physician or a board-certified allergist will be your best guide to seasonal allergies. While there’s no exact cure, your doctor can help you identify personal allergens, relieve symptoms and offer potential over-the-counter or prescription options.

3. Avoid Your Triggers

Seasonal allergies can be triggered by a variety of factors, from regional weather conditions to pre-existing food allergies. Rain, flooding and increased moisture, as well as conditions from the previous winter, can all affect your allergies come springtime.

Your primary care physician can advise you if your seasonal allergies might cross-react with food allergies. For example, bananas, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds and chamomile tea can provoke symptoms for common weed allergies.

4. Close the Windows

As tempting as it will be to let in the spring breeze, keep your windows closed as much as possible during the day. Pollen will collect in your home, and it can be especially hard to clean away.

5. Keep it Cool

Dust and mold do well in the heat and humidity, so when at all possible, try to keep the air conditioner set to 70 degrees. Replacing furnace filters can reduce pollen by 90 percent. Dehumidifiers are essential to keep the humidity at no higher than 50 percent.

6. Shower Often

If you react easily to seasonal allergies, you should shower as frequently as possible when you come in from outside. Washing the allergens off your skin can not only prevent immediate reactions, but also keep pollen from sticking to furniture, clothing or bed sheets. If you have a dog or outdoor pet, you may want to bathe them more frequently as they can bring in pollen too.

7. Pay Attention to Pollen Counts

The last thing you want to do is lock yourself up all spring and summer on account of some pesky allergies. While your doctor can advise you on the best treatment, you can also take the initiative by monitoring pollen counts. This will let you determine the best times to get out and about or where to visit on vacation. For example, complete your daily run earlier in the day before the pollen peaks or when it drops after sunset.