ACHOO! Bless you.

….Allergies… achoo! It is spring officially here in New England which means not only being able to just look outside, but going outside.

Being outside for any person brings Vitamin D which helps with depression and overall health. It also brings us fresh air that may not be too fresh to those who suffer from seasonal allergies. But being outside also helps us sleep quicker and become active!

Seasonal allergies can be worst one year and not so bad the next; it all depends on what the winter weather was like. Unfortunately here in New England we had a milder winter so we will have a bad pollen and allergy season. Here are some tips on making sure you don’t keep sneezing or coughing throughout your day.

Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers

 To reduce your exposure to the things that trigger your allergy signs and symptoms (allergens):
  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.

Take extra steps when pollen counts are high

Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there’s a lot of pollen in the air. These steps can help you reduce your exposure:

  • Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
  • If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
  • Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

Keep indoor air clean

There’s no miracle product that can eliminate all allergens from the air in your home, but these suggestions may help:

  • Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
  • If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
  • Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
  • Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

    Try an over-the-counter remedy

    Several types of nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. They include:

    • Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
    • Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
    • Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
    • Combination medications. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).

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