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Surviving Spring: Keep Allergies From Blooming This Season

Spring has sprung and with the long days, warm nights and beautiful blooms come the onslaught of seasonal allergies. The sneezing, congestion, and runny nose can make life miserable. But before you resign yourself to staying indoors on a gorgeous spring day, try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control.

Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers

To reduce your exposure to anything that may trigger your allergy symptoms, try the following:

  • Avoid spending time outside in the early morning when pollen counts are highest, and stay inside on dry, windy days.
  • As soon as you come inside, remove the clothes you wore outside that may be covered with pollen.
  • Check for local pollen forecasts and current pollen levels. If high pollen counts are forecast, start taking allergy medications before symptoms start.
  • Close doors and windows at night or when pollen counts are high. Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
  • Use high-efficiency air conditioner filters and follow regular maintenance schedules. Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier. Use a portable HEPA filter in your bedroom.
  • Have someone else handle yard work, and wear a dust mask if you do outside chores.

Try an over-the-counter remedy

Nonprescription medications that can help ease allergy symptoms include:

  • Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Be sure to check with your primary care physician before taking these medicines if you have any of the conditions listed on the warnings printed on the box or packaging of the product.
  • Decongestants. Nasal Saline (salt water) is an effective decongestant. It can be used several times per day and if used after being outside on a high pollen count day can help reduce allergy symptoms. Oral decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Only use decongestants for short-term relief. Long-term use of decongestant medications can make your symptoms worse.

When all else fails

If these measures don't help, contact your primary care physician. Prescription medications to treat your allergies are available. When all else fails, immunotherapy (allergy shots) may help.

We hope these tips will help you to stay symptom-free and enjoy a very happy spring!

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