Spring is a time when grasses, mesquite, cottonwood, and other common allergens bloom and peak. If you’re one of the 24 million people, or 8% of adults and 7% of children, triggered by these or other environmental allergies, you’re less enamored by the beautiful weather in April, May, and June and more consumed with sneezing, a runny nose, and congestion.
Allergies happen because your immune system overreacts to a substance that’s otherwise not harmful. Nip your springtime allergies in the bud with these tips from the care team at South Plains Rural Health Services.
When triggers are in the environment, avoiding them is easier said than done. But, you can stay inside on dry, windy days when allergens peak.
Always avoid gardening tasks that involve pulling up weeds and mowing the lawn. If you do need to do these chores, wear a mask. A hat and long sleeves also keep pollen off your skin and hair.
After you are outside, undress and shower right away to rinse any pollen from your hair and skin. Leave your shoes at the door, so you don’t track pollen through the house. Clothes dried outside smell wonderful, but are loaded with pollen. Use your in-house clothes dryer when pollen counts are up.
Vacuum and dust regularly, too, to remove any pollen that has crept inside.
Luckily, weather apps on your phone and local television stations give you a daily report on the pollen counts. If you hear of high pollen counts, take allergy medications in the morning to stop symptoms before they start. Keep your windows and doors shut, and use air conditioning — even in the car. Invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, especially for your bedroom.
Early morning is when pollen counts are at their highest, so if you do need to go outside, avoid the a.m. Pollen counts tend to be lowest right after a rainfall.
If you have mild symptoms, an over-the-counter remedy can help you ease allergies. Oral antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants are all ways to keep symptoms at bay. You may also use nasal irrigation, or rinsing of your nose with saline solution. This process flushes mucus and allergens from your nostrils.
When over-the-counter options aren’t enough, talk to us about prescription allergy medications. We can help you start these before the spring kicks in, so you have a buildup of allergy-fighting pharmaceuticals in your system that are ready to take on high pollen counts.
Over-the-counter medications and at-home management of allergies may not be enough to ease symptoms and help you have a pleasant spring. We can do allergy testing to determine the exact allergens that trigger you and offer medications or immunotherapy (allergy shots or tablets) to help your immune system cope with its hyperactivity.
Reach out to South Plains Rural Health Services in Levelland, Lamesa, or Big Spring, Texas if you need help with spring allergies. Call today, or use our online booking tool to schedule your appointment.