Seasonal Allergies

Spring is finally here!   The temperature is warming up, the grass is growing, and the flowers are blooming. It’s such a great time of year… unless you’re one of those unfortunate individuals who suffers from seasonal allergies. Then, you know, it’s just a matter of time before they flare-up again. There’s just nothing else that can make a nice walk in the park turn into misery when the itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing starts kicking in. The next thing you know, you’re congested and feeling miserable, and you just want to go home.

Here are some tips to beat those allergy symptoms or at least help you feel better, so you can spend some time outside enjoying the nicer weather.

First of all, pay attention to the pollen counts. These are usually available on the weather channel or during the local news. They can also be found on a weather website. On days when the pollen count is higher, try to avoid being outside. Exercise inside instead.

It’s ok to enjoy time outdoors, but try to do it in the mornings or evenings. Unfortunately, it is probably better to spend your time on a paved trail or in a park as opposed to hiking in the woods where you would be exposed to more pollen. Also, if possible, avoid running or biking on the city streets because of the higher amount of pollution. And be sure to wear a mask when you are working outside, whether it’s in your flower garden or cutting your grass.

Take over-the-counter allergy medicine such as Loratadine or Zyrtec. Benadryl also works well, but it can make you feel drowsy. These tablets help with the itchy, watery eyes and the sneezing and runny nose.

Use saline or steroid nasal sprays (like Flonase), to help with congestion. Sudafed can help when your ears feel plugged, but, like Benadryl, it also causes drowsiness. Also, you shouldn’t take it if you have high blood pressure. It doesn’t require a prescription, but you can’t just buy it over the counter. You have to buy it directly from the pharmacist. Also, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery after taking either Benadryl or Sudafed.

None of us like to take pills or use medicine. However, if you know that your allergies are worse during the spring and fall, it’s often beneficial to take the allergy tablets or use the nasal spray daily until either summer kicks in or it starts to freeze. Some insurances will cover the medicines, and some of them are $4 with a prescription, so you might schedule an appointment with your provider before you buy one. Otherwise, they tend to be a bit expensive.