How can you avoid springtime allergies?

Springtime allergies are common. Most people who feel their allergies flare up in the spring are allergic to pollen. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies throughout the year. Spring is a time when flowers blossom, following a cold and dormant winter. However, for many this new release on life is not wholly welcome. For these people, spring brings with it the particular discomforts of seasonal allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, which cause itchy skin, runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezing. Some people may suffer from more severe symptoms than others, while others may find more effective relief from medications.

Pollen is the most common spring allergen. Pollen counts of airborne pollen particles from trees such as oak, elm, maple, alder, birch, juniper and olive begin to soar along with the increasing temperatures. The best way to control allergies to pollen is to avoid exposure to the guilty allergens, which generally means staying indoors as much as possible. However, when this is not possible, at least limit the amount of time spent outdoors, especially during the morning hours when the pollen count is especially high. You can also check with local bureaus to find out what the pollen count is for each day -- and stay indoors when the pollen count soars, or when it is particularly windy.

Likewise, when indoors, keep all your windows closed; this includes when in the office, car and at home. Use an air conditioner if necessary -- and, even better, use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter to remove all those airborne allergens. Furthermore, don't hang your laundry outside to dry, and take a shower after being outside. This will limit the amount of pollen that you come in contact with and that clings to you and your clothing. Allergen immunotherapy, which must be started several months before the onset of spring, may also help you avoid the discomforts of spring if you have springtime allergies.



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