Pollen Allergies be extra careful this spring!

Pollen Allergies be extra careful this spring!

Spring, with the end of winter, also heralds the onset of the much dreaded pollen allergy season. Experts say it is going to be more severe and longer this time around. As always, being prepared and well informed gives you the extra protection you need.

An allergy occurs when you react to things like pollen and mold that don t affect most people. If you come into contact with something you are allergic to (called an allergen), you may have symptoms. This is called an allergic reaction.

The symptoms of pollen allergies include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy throat or inside of ears, hives, swollen eyelids and itchy eyes, and coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing.

When people who have a pollen allergy inhale the pollen, they get allergy symptoms. People can be allergic to different types of pollen.

Pollen counts give the number of grains of pollen in a certain amount of air in a set time period (usually 24 hours). The pollen is measured for specific plants such as grasses, oak trees and cottonwood trees. Pollen counts change with the weather (rain, humidity, sun and wind) and time of day; for example, they are usually higher on warm, breezy days and lower on chilly, wet days.

The key to surviving spring allergies is knowing what triggers your symptoms, said allergist James Sublett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Some Do s and Don ts:

Track Pollen counts daily and plan your activities around it so that you minimize your exposure to it when stepping out of the house. For instance, exercising causes you to breathe more deeply and inhale the pollen that affects your allergy symptoms. Exercise outdoors when pollen counts are at their lowest.

While gardening, avoid touching your eyes, and be sure to wash your hands, hair and clothing once you go back indoors. Take a bath after coming back indoors.

Monitor your allergic reaction and seek an allergist immediately if you feel the allergy is severe. An allergist will help you develop an action plan with ways to avoid allergy triggers and determine what treatment is best for your individual needs, says Dr. Sublett. Many severe allergy sufferers find relief in immunotherapy.

Keep windows closed, Vacuum your furniture, leave your shoes by the door and make sure you have a HEPA air filter in your AC, and change it every three months.

Pollen Allergies be extra careful this spring!

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