Spring allergy season is here, which means it’s time to stock up on tissues, nasal spray and anything else you use to beat the incoming allergy vortex. A few factors, including the mostly mild winter thus far and high rainfall, could mean that the 2016 spring allergy season will more prevalent than previous years. Once you know that pollen seasons are starting earlier, lasting longer and will be more severe, you can make lifestyle changes to help cope. Consider the following when you know pollen counts are high:
- Keep your home and car windows closed. Recirculate the air in your car, especially on high-pollen days, instead of using the vent, which may let in pollen.
- Avoid outdoor activity between 5 and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are highest.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Wipe down pets after a trip outside. Both carry pollen into the house.
- Wash bedding and if possible, clothing in hot water and place in a hot dryer. Do not hang clothes outdoors to dry.
- Bath before getting into bed if you’ve been outdoors to keep pollen from collecting in your sheets.
- Sign up for allergy alerts to let you know when the pollen counts are very high.
For patients who suffer from hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis), the vast majority of symptoms come from our bodies releasing chemicals to fight intruders such as pollen and mold. Below is a quick reference to find products to help your allergy symptoms:
|Symptoms||What to Use||Example Over-the-Counter Products|
|Runny nose, sneezing, watery itchy eyes||Oral Antihistamines||Zyrtec(cetirizine)
|Stuffy-, runny nose, sneezing, watery itchy eyes||Oral Antihistamines/decongestants||Zyrtec D (cetirizine/psuedoephedrine)
Claritin D (loratidine)
Allegra D (fexofenadine)
|Runny, Stuffy nose||Saline Nasal Spray/ rinses||Ayr, Ocean nasal spray|
|Stuffy nose||Oral or nasal decongestants||Sudafed PE, phenylephrine (oral)
Afrin nasal spray
|Watery, itchy eyes||Eyedrops
|Zaditor,Alaway, Claritin Eye|
|Rash, hives, or itchy skin||Moisturizing creams
Topical or oral antihistamines
Hydrocortisone, Cortisone 10
Benadryl Topical or any of the oral antihistamines listed above