While you may not be able to totally conquer pollen or other causes of seasonal allergies, these six tips can help you level the playing field:
1) Know the pollen count. The specific counts or warning levels for tree, grass, ragweed and weed pollen are available from several sources, including weather.com, weatherbug.com and the National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Report. When pollen is high, take precautions.
2) Keep doors and windows closed during pollen season and consider using central or room air conditioning. Same thing when traveling by car - keep the windows rolled up.
3) Try to limit your outside activities when pollen levels are high.
4) Wear a pollen filter mask if you're going to be outside for a long period of time or if you have to mow the lawn or rake leaves.
5) Take a shower and change clothes after you've been outside for a long time (pollen clings to hair and fabric).
6) Know your treatment options, including avoidance, medication and immunotherapy (allergy shots), which help your body's immune system become more resistant to an allergen.
|Zaid Jabbar, MD
Edward Medical Group
Your doctor can determine whether you need allergy shots (usually if you have symptoms for many months or if symptoms are severe). If medication is prescribed, it's important to follow the recommended dosage. Over-the-counter medication can also be helpful to alleviate allergy symptoms.
"With some patience - and trial and error - you'll be able to find the one that works best for your symptoms," says Zaid Jabbar, MD of Edward Medical Group. "Antihistamines such as Benadryl are effective in completely eliminating symptoms, but in turn cause extreme drowsiness. Other medications such as Claritin provide minor relief, but can be taken throughout the day."
If a medication gives relief from your allergy symptoms but causes you to be tired all day, try something else. If over-the-counter brands are not working, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for allergy pills or nasal sprays which may offer better results.
Dr. Jabbar is board certified in internal medicine and has a special interest in allergies. He can be contacted at (815) 731-9000. Learn more about Dr. Jabbar and the doctors of Edward Medical Group.
Sources: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), American Lung Association, pollen.com.