Many people don’t consider seasonal allergies to be a serious condition, but anyone who suffers from them every year can tell those people otherwise. For allergy sufferers, the seasons when the allergens that set off their condition appear can be miserable, leading to loss of sleep, depression, and other serious conditions on top of the runny noses, headaches, coughs, and watery eyes. On top of that, allergy attacks have gotten worse over the last few years. According to the New England Society of Allergy, pollen and mold spore counts have reached record highs,[i] leading to longer allergy seasons and more intense symptoms, even as a record number of people in the U.S. suffer from allergies every year. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Disease, allergy sufferers make up between 10 and 16% of the U.S. population.[ii]
As spring approaches, many allergy sufferers are already worrying about how they’re going to deal with their symptoms for another year. While there’s no way to guarantee zero symptoms, there are steps that allergy sufferers can take to help mitigate their symptoms:
- Determine if it’s really allergies – Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’re suffering from allergies, or if you are actually just suffering from a cold or virus. The change in weather between winter and spring, in particular, is a prime time for viruses and germs to take hold, and some people who believe they suffer from allergies may just have a seasonal flu. One way to tell is how long your symptoms last – if your runny nose, headaches, red eyes, etc. last longer than two weeks, it’s probably not a cold. The most reliable way to determine whether or not you have allergies, however, is to have your doctor perform an allergy test.
- Get an injection – Immune-based allergen injection therapy can greatly reduce symptoms and their progression, and they work for 85% of patients.[iii] If injections don’t work, you can also try nasal sprays and other over the counter medications. If you’re relying on medications, remember to take them before symptoms set in. Nasal sprays, etc. work best at preventing symptoms before they become full blown.
- Change your clothes – Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollen and other particles in the air, which can get stuck to your body and clothes, and follow you even when you are no longer in a place to be directly exposed to them. Changing your clothes when you get home from work or from a trip outside can help reduce exposure to allergens, helping reduce symptoms.
- Limit your exposure – If your allergies are caused by mold, dust, or other indoor particles, keep the windows of your home open as often as possible. If you’re allergic to pollen and other allergens that are found outside, try to keep your windows closed as often as possible. Pollen allergies can also be managed by wearing hats, sunglasses, and allergy masks. If you suffer from pollen allergies, try to get your daily exercise through indoor activities, to limit your exposure even further.
For even more tips on dealing with allergies and seasonal ailments, speak with one of our care providers today by calling 949-548-8400.