How can I help prevent seasonal allergies?

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Dr. Rozan J. Razzouk, MD
Family Practitioner

You can help prevent seasonal allergies by doing the following:

  • Limit exposure to pollen outside by staying inside with air conditioning between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen levels tend to be highest.
  • Take a shower after spending time outside to rinse away pollen that can stick to skin, hair and clothes.
  • Avoid outdoor activities on windy days, when pollen is more likely to be swirling around in the air.
Dr. Jackie T. Garrett, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

 

As the weather warms up and flowers begin to bloom, you may experience the familiar sneezing, congestion and watery eyes of seasonal allergies. This spring, use these three tips to stop allergies in their tracks:

  1. Shower before bed. Pesky pollen can cling to your hair and skin and keep your body’s allergic response going all night.
  2. Limit your exposure. Avoid going outside during the middle of the day and afternoon, when pollen counts are highest. Keep doors and windows closed, and don’t drive with the windows down in your car.
  3. Medicate to alleviate. Non-drowsy allergy medications are available over the counter to relieve your suffering. Never start a new medication without talking to your doctor. He or she may also recommend immunotherapy (allergy shots) for severe allergies.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Using a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) and a humidifier can help. So can attempting to stay indoors and closing windows/doors when the pollen count is high. Taking medication can also help prevent seasonal allergies.

Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, MD
Allergist & Immunologist

Here are some tips to help prevent seasonal allergies:

  • Take an allergy relief self test, learn more about allergy testing and treatment and find an allergist in your home town.
  • Be a star! Wear oversized sunglasses to block airborne pollens and molds from entering your eyes and lids that will cause red and watery eyes.
  • Wear a hat! Preferably a wide brimmed one.
  • Stay away from the line. Avoid line drying of clothing (particularly bed linens, etc) on a high pollen day outdoors.
  • Beat the clock. Consider exercising indoors on very high pollen days (especially if you are sensitive to seasonal pollens present in the air). Pollen levels may be highest during mid-day and afternoon. Higher levels of pollens are usually found on warm, dry and windy days and lower levels of seasonal pollens on windless, wet and cloudy days.
  • Know your pollen count. Pollen levels are highest on windy, dry and sunny days.
  • Get your seasonal allergies confirmed! Simple in-office allergy tests can pinpoint your problem.
  • Start early with allergy treatment. Many medications will work better (nasal antihistamines/steroids, oral antihistamines and eye drops) if you start them even before symptoms begin in many cases.
  • Shoot away! Allergy injections (shots) will actually reduce and slow down "allergic disease" progression. It will provide excellent long term relief in over 85% of patients.
  • Spice it up! Try a chili/cayenne pepper based natural nasal spray for pesky allergy symptoms.
  • Do the wash cycle or wash wisely. Shampoo and shower nightly to rinse the pollens from your skin and hair. Change your clothing before entering your bedroom to reduce pollens from being brought into your bedroom.
  • Eyelid hygiene. Gently irrigate your eyelids (while your eyes are closed) with a mild, tear free "baby" shampoo to remove excess allergens and pollutants which may have accumulated. Check with your provider before (especially if you wear contact lenses or have other eye problems) to learn whether anti-allergy eye and/or moisturizing drops may also be helpful.
  • Clean the air. At home or when driving, keep windows closed and set air conditioner on "re-circulate" to keep out the pollens. Clean filters in room air conditioners frequently during the "pollen" season to get best efficiency. Avoid fans that suck in outdoor pollens into your living space, at home.

Spring is in the air—and so is pollen (not a good time if you suffer from seasonal allergies). If you have year-round allergies, this time of year you can add pollen and outdoor mold to the list of triggers (e.g., dust mites and pet dander) that stir up your nasal allergy symptoms. Prevent symptoms from flaring by preparing for allergy season in advance.

Take a proactive approach to prevent—or at least minimize—your seasonal symptoms, starting with this three-step allergy-prevention plan:

  • Test for triggers. If you're not certain what triggers your nasal allergy symptoms, ask your doctor for an allergy test—even if you've had one before. Your triggers can change over time, so it can't hurt to take it again. Two kinds of tests—the skin prick test and the antibody blood test—are available to help your doc more precisely pinpoint your triggers, prescribe the right medication and help you avoid the substances that spark your symptoms.
  • Keep a symptom journal. If you haven't already, start a symptom journal and note any changes—for better or worse—both prior to and during springtime allergy season. This will help you determine whether you suffer from perennial (year-round) allergies, seasonal allergies or both. Note all the ways your allergies impact your life, including your mood, concentration, productivity, sleep and energy levels.
  • Live an allergy-soothing lifestyle. It's harder to cope with nasal allergy symptoms if you're frequently stressed or engaged in less-than-healthy habits. Give yourself a fighting chance this allergy season by eating a nutritious and diverse diet, exercising daily, getting plenty of sleep and using stress-management techniques. Don't let year-round or seasonal allergies control your life. Take charge, get tested and work with your doctor to find the best medication and take better care of your overall health.

Continue Learning about Allergies

Allergies

Allergies

About one out of five Americans suffers from allergies. An allergy is an exaggerated response from the immune system to a substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. Other common triggers include foods such as peanuts and ...

milk; insect bites; and certain ingredients in cosmetics and jewelry. Allergies can cause anything from rashes and hives to itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and wheezing.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.