Seven Tips For Surviving Spring Allergy Season

Dr. James Thompson

Most people can hardly wait for the arrival of spring, following the cough, cold and flu season, cold weather and being cooped up indoors from the cold.

But along with the warm weather comes the pollens and molds that plague those of us with seasonal allergies.

In northern parts of the U.S., the earliest pollen triggers come from trees. In the Midwest, Elm trees begin to pollinate as early as February or March when the temperature rises. Cottonwoods, Birch, Maple and Oak soon follow in March, April and May. Grass pollen jumps into the mix in May and June followed by ragweed in mid August.

Molds emerge from their winter time dormant state at first thaw in the spring. In northern states mold counts peak in late summer and early fall. The first sustained frost, usually in late fall, signals the end of outdoor mold. Learn more about pollen and mold counts in your area by visiting the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Web site and the National Allergy Bureau.

People with seasonal allergies often forget about their plight over the winter months. Before they can fully enjoy the spring and summer weather, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes zero in to spoil the fun.

What can allergy sufferers do to prepare for outdoor allergy season?

Here are seven tips (most of these tips are recommended by the AAAAI):

1) Visit your doctor. Talk to your doctor about starting your allergy medications before the pollens and molds get underway. In the Midwest this is usually by March (earlier if warm weather begins in February). Non-drowsy antihistamines are preferred. Prescription nasal sprays (nasal steroids) have become key players in managing nasal allergies. They should also be started a 1-2 weeks before your pollen season begins.

2) Keep windows and doors shut at home. Your screens will not keep out those tiny pollens and molds that may find their way to your eyes and nose even while inside the house. Consider running the a/c earlier in the year if it gets stuffy.

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