Spring is here! Along with it comes the sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy nose, and itchy eyes that are familiar to many of you who suffer from seasonal nasal allergies. Some people also have asthma symptoms (cough, wheeze, difficulty breathing) that are triggered by springtime allergens. The allergens that most frequently cause springtime allergy symptoms are tree pollens that pollinate in the Spring. Some trees that commonly cause seasonal allergies are oak, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar, sycamore, maple, cedar, cypress, and walnut trees. Check to see if there are in your neighborhood. In California and other places with warmer temperatures, weeds also pollinate in the Spring.
Here are some easy tips to prevent seasonal allergy symptoms due to springtime pollens:
1. Keep your windows closed — this prevents pollen from entering your home
2. Wash your face and if possible change your clothes after being outdoors for a long time — this prevents pollen from being stuck to your face or clothes and affecting you the rest of the day
3. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors — this prevents pollen from entering eyes
4. Rinse your nose with salt water nasal sprays as needed — this prevents pollens from sticking to nasal passages
5. Check your local pollen count — this will help you prepare for the day ahead – pollen.com is a good website for checking local pollen counts
IF you have springtime nasal allergy symptoms, start with environmental avoidance measures and diet changes. IF you have persistent nasal symptoms or any asthma symptoms, you may need medications.
For persistent symptoms, also consider allergy testing and starting allergy shots.