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Five Steps to Avoid Allergies during This Spring

by Kamal Salar

While most people gratefully welcome the longer days and warmer weather of spring, more than 35 million Americans dread the itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing that comes with the season’s pollens and mold spores.Fortunately, these symptoms could be easily avoided with the help of planning, effort and common sense.

Mark Dykewicz, M.D., professor of internal medicine and chief of allergy and clinical immunology at the ‘Saint Louis University School of Medicine ‘says that with a bit of planning, effort and common sense, many people can limit their suffering during allergy season or perhaps even avoid it altogether. Fortunately, there are more treatments than ever to relieve these symptoms. New non-sedating antihistamines and nasal steroids can help relieve symptoms of hay fever and other allergic conditions.

There are various causes which lead the allergies to flare up in the spring. Pollen is the most likely cause. The immune system of the body reacts towards the pollen released by various plants and causes familiar allergic symptoms. Trees are usually the first plants to release pollen, usually in the early spring followed by other types of grasses. Weeds generally release their pollen in late summer and fall. As the season progresses, different types of pollens are present to trigger allergic reactions.

The timing and the severity of the allergic season is mostly influenced by the weather. A mild winter leads to more severe pollen season. These allergic reactions make the situation worse, if they are accompanied by the asthma.

Allergies last longer than cold. Frequent sneezing and itchy, watery eyes are more often associated with an allergy rather than a cold. If you notice a pattern in which you suffer the same symptoms at the same time year after year, you are likely suffering from allergies. Dykewicz suggests that simple steps are there which could take care of such a condition. The symptoms could be minimized when allergy season kicks into high gear.

There are five important things you can do to prevent or relieve symptoms during allergy season when pollen or mold counts are peaking:

  1. Use of over-the-counter antihistamines are found to have been reducing the classic symptoms of seasonal allergies, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and, occasionally, scratchy throat. Some of the antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can cause drowsiness and can cause impairment of thinking and driving. So the modern formulations such as Claritin or Zyrtec are recommended as they cause no or negligible drowsiness.
  2. Keeping the doors and windows closed would prevent the pollens and molds to enter the house.
  3. Outdoor activities especially during the morning should be avoided as the pollen counts are usually higher during that time of the day.
  4. The windows should be kept up while travelling by car to avoid pollens, dust and mold to enter.
  5. Taking regular showers and changing clothes to remove the pollen accumulated in the clothes is also advisable.

So avoidance, medication and in certain cases, the immunotherapy also helps where the energy shots are injected into the body to fight against the allergens.  The strength and the number of shots are gradually increased over a period of time, keeping the condition of patient in mind.

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