For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, changing of seasons causes a lot of headache. Runny noses, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion are common for people allergic to pollen, mold, ragweed and other springtime allergens.
Disease prevention is just as important for your well-being as disease treatment. That's why the team at SIU Medicine recommends preparing for springtime allergies before the season begins. Even if you can't fully eliminate your allergy symptoms, you likely can reduce their severity and improve comfort by following a few simple steps.
5 Tips to Prepare for Springtime Allergies
See an ENT-Allergy Specialist Before Symptoms Start
An ENT-allergy specialist is a type of medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies. Consulting with an ENT-allergy specialist gives you a better idea of what's actually causing your allergic reaction, allowing you to effectively avoid the allergen once springtime comes around.
ENT-allergy specialists can diagnose what is causing your symptoms by conducting a skin test. During a skin test, your doctor will prick the skin on the inside of your arm or your back with a tool that exposes you to a small amount of an allergen. If you develop signs and symptoms of an allergy, such as redness, swelling or itchiness, then the test may be considered positive.
An ENT-allergy specialist will also perform a physical examination and take a medical history to personalize your diagnosis and treatment.
Additionally, an ENT-allergy specialist can recommend the best medications for your specific allergies. This cost-effective approach helps you avoid wasting money on over-the-counter remedies that may not work well for you.
Tidy Up Your Home
Spending more time indoors during the colder winter months can lead to a pile up of airborne particles that may exacerbate your allergies once springtime comes. Eliminate those potential allergens with regular cleaning:
- Dust and vacuum (if possible, use a vacuum with high-efficiency particulate air filters)
- Change air filters in your home and car
- Keep up with routine heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance
Track Local Allergen/Pollen Levels
You can check daily how saturated your area is by allergens by checking various local and national pollen count websites. If your community has a high pollen count, you can take steps to minimize your exposure by:
- Closing your windows
- Minimizing time spent outside, especially in the morning or on windy days (the best times to go out during allergy season is after it has rained)
- Wearing a face mask when doing yard work
- Removing and washing clothes that you've worn outside, and showering after coming inside
Irrigate Your Nose
Nasal irrigation is a simple at-home way to clean out your nose. You'll need a squeeze bottle or neti pot and simple saline solution. When using nasal irrigation it is important that boiled or distilled water is used. An ENT-allergy specialist or pharmacist can teach you how to use and set one up.
Mold-Proof Your Home
If you haven't had your home tested for mold recently, now is a good time to do it. Consult with a local professional who can assess your entire home, get rid of mold and educate you about how to prevent more mold from growing. For instance, cleaning out your gutters and ensuring proper ventilation in moist areas like the bathroom are helpful.
At SIU Medicine, our experienced ENT-allergy specialists, pharmacists, and other clinicians can help manage your springtime allergies. To request a consultation or learn more about how you protect yourself and your family from allergies this coming spring, visit siumed.org.