How can I relieve my seasonal allergies?
Anna George, MD, is an allergist at Banner Health Center in Fort Collins. For more information on this topic, please consult with your doctor or call 970-229-4600.
Question: Now that spring is in the air, what can I do to relieve my seasonal allergies?
Answer: Though spring is beautiful in our community, allergy sufferers can struggle with the plants and trees in bloom. These blossoms cause pollens to be released into the air which can aggravate nasal passages, resulting in stuffy noses and itchy, watery eyes.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can be helpful in providing relief, though look for options that are non-drowsy to keep you alert during the day. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it may help to leave your shoes outside so you don't bring pollen indoors. Also consider bathing at night to wash any pollen from your body before you go to bed.
Despite the pleasant springtime breezes, keep your doors and windows closed to protect your home from pollen, and replace air conditioning filters that may have trapped any allergy offenders. Humidifiers are popular in the winter but can cause mold spores to develop, which can affect allergies. Consider eliminating additional moisture in your home with a dehumidifier and avoid using evaporative coolers.
With so many allergy sufferers locally, our news media regularly reports on pollen counts. Keep an eye on the news and stay indoors when the pollen count is particularly high. If you're aware of the plants and trees that cause you the greatest discomfort, try to avoid exposure to these particular types of foliage, or wear a mask or scarf to shield you from inhaling the pollen.
If these remedies do not bring relief, consult your family practitioner for advice on how to manage your seasonal allergies. Your health care provider may suggest a prescription medication or refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and treatment.