Don’t Let Allergy Season Run Your Life

Sneeze-womanFor more than 35 million of us, April showers bring more than May flowers. It also brings spring ahhh-choos, spring sniffles and spring misery as seasonal allergies make their yearly arrival.

What causes spring allergies? Mostly, pollen—tiny grains released by trees, grasses and weeds to fertilize other plants. When we inhale pollen, our immune system sees them as invaders and releases antibodies to attack them. This leads to chemicals called histamines being released into our blood stream, which cause our nose to run, our eyes to itch and the sneezing to begin.

If you haven’t discovered this already, ignoring spring allergies does nothing to deter them. Luckily, there are things you can do to lessen their eye-watering powers. Below are six ways to avoid the allergy onslaught this spring.

  1. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If you’re diagnosed as having seasonal allergies, a prescription allergy medicine—usually one pill taken every day—can immensely help in controlling allergies. Your doctor may also suggest allergy shots or a steroid nasal spray. Even if you try an over-the-counter medication for your allergies, talk to your doctor first to make sure you pick the right one.
  2. Go see a movie on dry, windy days. You’ll be walking into a pollen trap if you decide to go for a long hike outside on these days. The best time to go outside, says the Mayo Clinic, is after a good rain, which will help clear the pollen from the air.
  3. Get out of lawn work. Mowing the lawn is usually a major trigger for pollen allergy sufferers. If you can, swap this chore with someone else in the house—laundry duty is safer. If you must do yard work, wear a breathable safety mask to help block some of the pollen.
  4. Speaking of laundry Any clothes you wear outside during peak allergy season should be washed before wearing again, lest you want that pollen to revisit you the next time you put them on.
  5. Close windows and turn on the A/C. Air conditioning in your house and car will help to eliminate most of the pollen that’s trying to make its way to you from the outside.
  6. Make HEPA filters your friends. These high-efficiency particulate air filters can be used indoors (in a stand-along device that’s particularly helpful to put in your bedroom), as well as in vacuum cleaners to help you breathe easy indoors.

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