March is here, and Spring is in the air. No wait…that’s pollen. “But how can that be pollen when Spring isn’t technically until March 20th, you say? Well due to climate change, the majority of the southeast gets to see Spring as early as January now.
While Spring is known to bring great weather and beautiful flowers, it’s also known to bring a host of problems like sneezing, congestion, a runny nose, and other annoying symptoms – also known as allergy season.
If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how miserable they can make you feel. But before you settle for the artificial flowers, we put together 5 tips for you to try that will help keep your seasonal allergies at bay.
Nip the 2022 allergy season in the bud with these 5 tips:
Tip #1: Consider COVID-19:
Since COVID-19 is still around and on the minds of many, Spring allergies may sneak up on people this year – especially since allergy season may come earlier than expected. And since COVID-19 symptoms often resemble many allergy symptoms, such as a cough, congestion, fatigue, chills, and more, it’s hard to determine what exactly you’re experiencing – COVID-19 or allergies? What’s even more confusing is the Omicron variant causes more severe nasal congestion, postnasal drip, runny nose, and headache – all of which may confuse you to think it’s a sinus infection due to allergies.
First things first, if you think you might have COVID-19, it’s important to get tested and rule out whether or not it’s the virus. Keep in mind that a fever typically never presents itself with allergies. If your test comes back negative and you’re still experiencing these COVID-like symptoms, the best bet is you’re suffering from seasonal allergies – which can be just as harsh. So, what do you do? Consult with your Eagles Landing Health doctor so they can create a plan of action and help you get back to feeling your best. They’ll give you the tools you need to battle Spring allergies and help you get ahead of symptoms so they don’t come back.
Tip #2: Choose the right medications:
Choosing the right medication is key to fighting seasonal allergies and keeping them at bay. But what medications are the right ones to take? Well, that’s up to you and your doctor.
But consider this. Many patients have found pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passage, to be effective in clearing up congestion – especially a stuffy nose. However, many don’t realize there are side effects that come with this particular drug, especially since the main ingredient is methamphetamine – also known as “meth”. If you choose this medication, keep in mind that insomnia, loss of appetite, irritability, heart palpitations, and more are all common side effects. This drug should not be taken for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some alternative allergy medications that lean on the safer side are Claritin or Zyrtec. But since there is not a one-size-fits-all allergy medication, it’s best to consult with your doctor before taking anything.
Tip #3: Protect yourself from pollen:
While you may be tempted to open the windows to your home or roll down the windows in your car, keep in mind that pollen is in the air. Breathing in pollen can present a load of issues like sneezing, congestion, headaches, runny nose, itchy or red eyes, and more. It can even cause asthma attacks in people who suffer from asthma. So, while the wind and breezes are nice, they bring unwanted pollen exposure that causes our allergies to flare up, and in some cases, severely.
So, what can you do to avoid pollen exposure, so your allergies don’t get out of whack?
▪ #1: Check the pollen forecasts in your area to plan your day(s). That way, you can stay inside during times when levels are at their highest.
▪ #2: Take allergy/asthma medication prescribed by your doctor before pollen levels get elevated and when they reach their highest, which is the morning.
▪ #3: Avoid touching your eyes, especially while you are outside, and make sure to wash your hands when you go back inside.
▪ #4: Change clothes after being outside. If you have the time, take a shower to wash any pollen out of your hair and off your skin. If you don’t have the time, simply take a wet washcloth and wipe down your arms and legs.
Tip #4: Know your allergy triggers:
Let’s talk about asthma. Because there are many similarities between the different types of asthma, the triggers associated with a single allergy can vary drastically. For patients to understand their asthma/allergy triggers, it’s best for them to consult with their doctor. If you believe that you’ve had some type of allergic reaction, speak with your doctor about what the allergic trigger could be and ask about a blood allergen test, since that may be a great first step.
Though allergy triggers are unique to each individual, here are some steps that everyone can take; wear a mask when outside, stay indoors when the pollen count is high and on dry/windy days, spend time outside after it’s rained since rain washes pollen from the air.
Tip #5: Schedule an appointment:
For many people, taking your typical over-the-counter medications is enough to get by during allergy season, for others, it’s a struggle. If your seasonal allergies are a general annoyance for you, we’ve got the tools to help you!
At Eagles Landing Health, our board-certified and specialty trained providers offer a variety of treatments to help combat allergy season. If you consider yourself to suffer from severe allergies, your doctor may even recommend you do a blood allergy test. At ELH, we offer ImmunoCAP to find out exactly what allergens trigger your symptoms, whether it be environmental and/or food. By testing, we can help develop a plan of action and the steps necessary to take, identify your specific allergen triggers, and which treatments will likely work best for you to help reduce the severity of your symptoms.