Six tips to tackle spring allergies.
Naperville Sun HealthAware column:
Sneezing already? Here’s six ways to beat spring allergies
April 8, 2013
Spring means baseball, blooming flowers and, for about 35 million Americans, the sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes of seasonal allergies.
The culprits? High levels of mold and pollen from trees, plants and grasses that come with the warmer weather. The good news is you have a fighting chance against spring allergies if you follow these six tips from Casey Crackel, PA-C, a physician assistant with Edward Medical Group:
1. Be an early bird. By starting treatment for your allergies early in the season – about two weeks before your symptoms typically appear – you can often minimize or even eliminate them.
2. One step at a time. Try over-the-counter non-drowsy antihistamines, and possibly a nasal spray or rinse that’s saline or cromolyn sodium. If after 1-2 weeks of this approach you’re still miserable, check with your healthcare provider. A prescription antihistamine or steroid nasal spray may be all that’s called for. In some cases, you’ll need testing to pinpoint the substance that’s bothering you. And you may be referred to an allergist for allergy shots, which can desensitize you to the allergen.
3. Build fortresses. Keep the windows in your home and car closed during allergy season, and set your car ventilation system to re-circulate. At home, try free-standing HEPA air filters, especially in your bedroom.
4. Good timing can help. Check the Internet for daily pollen counts in your area, and keep outdoor activity to a minimum when levels are high. Mid-day and afternoon hours are often the worst for pollen, especially on windy days. If you need to do outdoor work, such as mowing the grass or digging up weeds, consider wearing a facial allergy mask.
5. Say no to pollen bedfellows. If you are outdoors for an extended period, be sure to shower and put your clothes in the laundry before you go to bed. Consider using a saline nasal spray or sinus wash to rid your nose of allergens that can continue irritating even after you’re indoors.
6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Support your immune system by getting plenty of rest and eating well, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
“Allergies can make you more susceptible to upper respiratory infections,” says Crackel. “See your healthcare provider for an evaluation if your allergy symptoms worsen to include fever, chills, fatigue, sinus pain or an extremely sore throat.”
Physician assistant Crackel is accepting new patients at Edward Medical Group’s office located at 2007 95th St. in Naperville. For an appointment call (630) 527-7780.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services