Spring is in the air — and so are seasonal allergies.
While spring is an exciting time to get out and enjoy the sunshine, the fun can often times be hindered by the symptoms of airborne allergies that many know all too well: sneezing, runny or clogged nose, coughing and postnasal drip, watering eyes, and itching eyes, nose, and throat. Allergy symptoms can vary widely, and can even include severe rashes, swelling, shock, and shortness of breath in those with asthma.
Pollen levels are typically higher on warm, sunny, dry and windy days, and lower on cooler, moist and wet days. Check pollen levels daily in your area by visiting http://www.aaaai.org to determine how you may want to face the great outdoors. The following are tips to prevent or treat seasonal allergies:
Consider staying indoors with the windows closed in the morning, when outdoor pollen levels are highest.
Remove clothes you’ve worn outside once inside. Taking a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair is also recommended after outdoor activity.
When working or exercising outside, wear a face mask designed to filter out pollen in the air and keep it from reaching nasal passages.
Bathe and brush pets weekly or as often as possible.
Use a vacuum cleaner daily, and a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
Rinsing your nasal passages with distilled, sterile saline solution is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to relieve nasal congestion.
When symptoms cannot be minimized or avoided, they can often be controlled by medicines. See your allergist, primary care physician or go to an urgent care to find out which medication will work best for you, including oral antihistamine, decongestant, and nasal spray.
• Dr. Michael Kaplan is the national medical director for NextCare Urgent Care.