If you are among the 30 percent of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring is probably not all flowers and sun showers for you. Tree pollen is most often the common culprit for spring allergies. Florida living brings exposure to trees that regularly start releasing their pollen as early as December – way before spring even hits – and lasting through the summer.
Common allergy symptoms include:
•Itchy, watery, red eyes
•Bags under the eyes associated with nasal inflammation
•Sneezing and congestion
•Scratchy and sore throat
Fortunately, relief is usually found with over-the-counter drugs. However, allergy medications can take about five days of use before they are most effective.
If you have itchy eyes and a runny nose then medications like loratadine, which is sold under the brand name Claritin, or cetirizine, which is sold under the brand name Zyrtec, can be very helpful. Cetirizine can cause some mild sleepiness, so it’s better to take at night.
Nasal congestion can be relieved with an intranasal steroid spray like Flonase or Nasacort. Intranasal steroid sprays are typically most effective with two weeks of daily use, and they can provide some relief when used on an as-needed basis. Nasal sprays can ward off a cascade of allergy symptoms if started a week before the onset of allergy season.
Before starting any treatment, check with your doctor or health care professional. They can help you decide what treatment might be best for you.
Safeguard Your Against Home Seasonal Allergens
While you can’t stay home all allergy season long there are things you can do to make the season less impactful on your allergies.
1. Limit your time outdoors on high-pollen days. If you must do yard work, consider using a nose-and-face mask. Even one intended for painting will help reduce the pollen you breathe in.
2. Shower immediately after cutting the grass or doing other yard work.
3. Use a HEPA filter in your bedroom. These filters can trap pollutants and bring allergy relief.
4. Keep windows and doors closed.
5. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, stay indoors. These storms kick up winds, which can make things worse for allergy sufferers.
Don’t Confuse Your Allergies for a Cold
If you have had symptoms for more than five days then you should start considering that they may be due to allergies and not necessarily a cold. This is especially true if you have no fever and symptoms persist without worsening.
Keep in mind that you can develop allergies late in life as an adult. Being allergy-free as a kid does not mean you won’t suffer from allergies as an adult. This is especially true if you move to a new area where you may be exposed to new allergens.