The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Dallas in the top 35 most challenging places to live with Spring allergies. Spring and seasonal allergies are here but there are measures you can take to decrease your allergy symptoms:
- Keep the doors and windows in your home and car closed and use air conditioning
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, especially in the mornings
- Stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest
- Shower, wash your hair and change clothes after spending time outdoors
- Monitor the pollen count by checking weather reports
- Clean the air filters in your home often and use a HEPA air purifier
- Vacuum twice a week. Wear a mask, because vacuuming can kick up pollen, mold, and dust that were trapped in your carpet
- Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors, and take appropriate medication beforehand
In addition, over the counter antihistamines and decongestants as well as steroid nose sprays can help. Consistent use of a steroid nose spray such as Flonase or Nasacort can be helpful, especially if started two weeks before allergy season. Antihistamine pills such as Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin can be used as well. While decongestant pills such as Sudafed and Phenylephrine can help, use for more than a few days is not recommended because they can have more significant side effects. Saline rinses are all-natural, do not contain any medicines and can help alleviate symptoms by flushing out pollen, mucous and debris.
For many of us, Spring is also the time for rejuvenating our gardens, planting flowers and sprucing up our lawns, which can be difficult if you suffer from allergies. If you like to garden but suffer from allergies, wear a mask, gloves and oversized sunglasses and then shower and shampoo after being outdoors on high pollen days.
Don’t let seasonal allergies prevent you from enjoying this Spring or the outdoors. If avoidance measures and medications aren’t helping, visit a board-certified allergist for allergy testing to find out what your allergy triggers are and for a treatment plan to deal with your allergies. There are prescription and over the counter antihistamine and decongestant pills as well as antihistamine and steroid nose sprays and eye drops that can help alleviate your allergy symptoms. One of the most effective treatments is allergen immunotherapy, allergy shots or drops. They expose you to your allergens gradually over time, and desensitize or “immunize” your body to the allergens, resulting in much fewer allergy symptoms. They get to the root of the problem and provide long-lasting relief.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, it’s best to see an allergist to figure out what you are allergic to and how best to tackle your symptoms. Come visit us at North Texas Allergy & Asthma Center and our Board-Certified Allergists can help you feel better!
ROSHNI FOSTER, MD, PHD
Board Certified Allergist