Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun. But for people with seasonal allergies, spring also means sneezing, coughing and itchy, watery eyes. Seasonal allergies occur when your body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment. That something is usually pollen or grass. Across the country, a warmer-than-average winter plus lots of precipitation caused trees and plants to blossom almost a full month ahead of schedule so allergy season is coming on strong. In addition, you could also be sensitive to other spring triggers that can aggravate allergies, such as campfire smoke, insect bites and stings, or chlorine in swimming pools.

What to Use

Luckily, there are effective medications to control symptoms available over the counter without a prescription.

  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Topical hydro-cortisone cream for insect bites and stings
  • You might also consider taking probiotics. Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that this good bacteria (which can be found in yogurt) improved the symptoms of seasonal allergies in 17 out of 23 studies.

Tips to Ease Your Allergy Triggers

  • If possible, stay indoors in the morning hours, when pollen levels tend to peak.
  • Keep door and car windows closed.
  • Run the air conditioning indoors and use a high-efficiency HEPA filter to clean the air.
  • Change your clothes after you’ve been outside.
  • Shower and wash your hair at night rather than in the morning to get rid of any pollen before you go to bed.
  • Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from pollen.

Pet Allergies

Your pets might be suffering from seasonal allergies, too. In humans, our allergies affect the respiratory system but dog and cat allergies mostly affect their skin. If your pet has allergies, her skin will become very itchy. Then she will scratch, bite or chew to try to relieve the misery. That can lead to hot spots, hair loss and open sores, or even inflamed ears that can get infected with yeast or bacteria. See your vet for tips on how to help your pets get through allergy season.

Google is Not a Doctor

While it’s tempting – and easy – to do a quick search for a “cure” on the Web, please remember that you can’t always trust what you see to be true. If you have any questions about your allergies, feel free to call YourTown Health. Our staff is happy to help.

About YourTown Health
YourTown Health is a non-profit network of six community health centers serving the communities of Meriwether, Pike, Lamar, Carroll, Coweta and South Fulton counties for over 35 years. The centers provide access to quality primary care, pediatric care, women’s care, dental care and more, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. YourTown Health – Your Family. Your Health. YourTown. For more information, please visit www.yourtownhealth.com.