Springtime is here—it’s warmer outside, the days are longer, and flowers are in full bloom. While many of us people pack away winter clothes and enjoy the change in weather, more than 50 million Americans are dealing with the return of seasonal allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system reacts to allergens, such as pollen. While some seasonal allergy symptoms are mild, others can become severe or life threatening. Commonly known as hay fever, some of the most common symptoms include sneezing, watery/swollen/red/itchy eyes, scratchy throat, nasal congestion, headache, plugged-up feeling in the ears, disruption of sleep, and fatigue. Symptoms are normally treated with antihistamines, decongestants, allergy shots, or nasal sprays that offer some relief.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, here are a few steps you can take to manage discomfort and control your symptoms.
- Limit outdoor activities between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. This is when pollen counts are highest.
- Use your air conditioner and make sure windows and doors remain shut to keep pollen out of your home and car.
- Avoid hanging laundry outside.
- Minimize contact with pets and items that have been outdoors for a long time.
- Immediately remove clothes you wore outside and shower and shampoo to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Take your medications as prescribed.
- If your symptoms are severe, try to wear gloves and a dust or particle mask if long periods of exposure are unavoidable.
As with any health issue, consult with your doctor or an allergist for the most appropriate treatment plan. For additional resources and information about allergens and pollen, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Allergens and Pollen webpage.