Simple tips to keep allergy sufferers feeling fine from Tax Day to Father’s Day.
The sun is shining, flowers are in bloom, and unfortunately for many of us, allergies are overshadowing the pleasures of the spring season. Tree pollen counts are typically at their highest from mid-April to mid-May, and then grass pollen peaks from mid-May to mid-June – leading to a stream of symptoms, including runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and irritated throat. (If you were recently exposed to COVID and are concerned that these symptoms may be more than allergies, contact your provider and get tested!)
Fortunately, there are ways to beat the spring sneeze, says Dr. Jennifer Camacho, Allergist and Immunologist with White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness in Armonk.
Don’t procrastinate. Waiting till the height of the season to start taking allergy meds may delay your relief. “Many allergy patients will start a daily antihistamine on the first day of spring,” says Dr. Camacho. “If you know you have symptoms every year, start taking one then.”
Lessen your exposure. Common sense precautions include limiting outdoor activities, wearing glasses and, in some cases, sports goggles. “For younger active allergy patients, I recommend swimming indoors, gymnastics and ice hockey as opposed to outdoor sports,” she says. “If softball, baseball, lacrosse or soccer is a must, come in right after, change clothes and wash down from hair to toes.” And importantly, “Wash those clothes!”
Keep pollen out. Close windows and use an air filter in at least one room in the house. “Pollen grains are large and can be easily filtered as opposed to dust mites or mold spores,” Dr. Camacho says.
Clean your pets. If your pets go outside for a walk, or to play, they can be covered with pollen. “Make sure Fido or the cat is wiped down as well,” she says.
Consider shots. If you don’t want to suffer year after year, or medications and precautions aren’t helping, talk with your allergist about allergy shots or immunization. “They can really make a difference,” says Dr. Camacho.
Embrace your mask! Allergy sufferers may seen an upside by diligent mask-wearing, as they not only prevent the spread of COVID but can act as an additional barrier against pollen and irritants as well.