Spring allergies: what you need to know
The beginning of Spring is still fresh but many allergy sufferers are reluctant to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. And why blame them? Allergy symptoms like itchiness, sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes don’t translate well to fun outdoors or even inside the home.
But there are steps those with allergies can take to decrease their exposure to common allergens like ragweed and find allergy relief.
Limit Time Outside
This is one is tough, because good hospitable weather can be hard to come by (especially in Houston). And even if you work from home, there’s always a reason to step outside your door.
Rather than remove yourself entirely from outdoor existence, simply be more strategic about when and where. Typically, pollen is at its worst in the early morning (5-10 a.m.) and around dark, once the sun sets. Timing your trips between these times can help reduce exposure.
If activity during these times is unavoidable, say for an exercise routine or walking the dog, you can counter with a filtering facemask or nasal sprays that will alleviate symptoms.
Make Your Home ‘Allergy Proof’
Since pollen and other allergens are microscopic, this is a tall task in the common home. Being more mindful of what you bring in from the outside can help make your sanctuary a little more comfortable.
Here’s where to start: buy a HEPA filter. Although filling each room with a HEPA is the ideal solution, it’s not very cost-effective. That’s why planting one in the areas you spend the most time is crucial; a good example is the bedroom or living room, or wherever you Netflix the most.
Another solution is changing out of your clothes after outdoor activity, whether that’s coming home from work or physical activity. Transitioning into “home clothes” helps remove the allergens you carry on your clothes. If allergens still persist while at home, it may be necessary to rinse your hair, as pollen can also linger there and haunt you throughout the night.
In addition, keeping windows routinely shut will prevent any unwanted allergens from slipping in and settling on furniture or decorations.
While all the above will yield some daily benefit, they only postpone the inevitable: allergy symptoms. Nasal sprays and decongestants are only one way to manage symptoms rather than increase your tolerance.
That’s where immunotherapy can help.
The Immunotherapy process screens and discovers what allergies you truly have. Included in the process is skin testing and immunotherapy shots, which can be taken at home rather than the office. The advantage of immunotherapy is training your body to be less susceptible to allergies. The process is long, sometimes taking three to five years, but many patients experience results within months.
Figuring out the best course of action begins with making an appointment with your ENT specialist. Only they can prescribe the best course of action.
In the meantime, be more strategic about how you enjoy spring weather.