Unfortunately, They’re a Part of Life. But Allergies Are Nothing to Sneeze at.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you probably anticipate a certain level of misery when spring is in the air. Maybe you believe the annual battle with pollen is lost before it even begins.
Allergies are more than a pesky inconvenience and symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. The effects can be severe or even life-threatening — especially if you live with asthma. While there isn’t a simple cure, there are a number of ways to make allergy season much more bearable.
Prevent Allergy Triggers
- Dust and vacuum often to reduce dust mites. If needed, wear a mask when cleaning and then leave for a few hours to avoid allergens in the air.
- Animals with fur or feathers can trigger allergic reactions. If you have pets you can’t part with, at least keep them out of the bedroom.
- When pollen is in the air, keep your doors and windows closed and change the filter for your air conditioner often. If possible, stay inside during the peak pollen time —usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Don’t Suffer Through Symptoms
There are many prescription and nonprescription medications to treat the symptoms of allergies. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that’s right for you.
- Antihistamines relieve rashes and hives, sneezing, itching and runny nose.
- Decongestants reduce stuffiness by shrinking swollen membranes in the nose.
- Eye drops provide temporary relief from burning or bloodshot eyes.
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments relieve itchiness and stop the spread of rashes.
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) desensitizes reactions to certain allergens over time by providing increasingly higher doses of allergen(s). They are not effective for all allergy types.
Allergies and Asthma
Asthma is a serious, life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects quality of life for almost 25 million Americans, including an estimated 7 million children. Although there isn’t a known cure, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers.
During allergy season, the air is especially full of substances that can cause asthma symptoms and attacks. If you have asthma, work with your doctor to identify specific triggers and develop a treatment plan to reduce exposure.