Seasonal Allergies – Nothing to Sneeze At
Most people have one of two reactions to the end of winter and the beginning of spring: anticipation and excitement that the cold months are over and warmer weather is coming. Or complete dread because for them (40 million Americans) springtime equals seasonal allergies, a stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes. While there is no out-right cure for seasonal allergies, there are steps to make the transition into spring a little more comfortable.
Even though spring may not officially start until March or April, the pollen season begins much earlier and then peaks in mid-March. If the weather is warm enough for trees to start budding, then pollen has also started filling the air. So if you take medication to control your seasonal allergies, the time to start is mid-February. By starting medications earlier, you are less likely to have a snowball effect of your symptoms later on in spring.
If your seasonal allergy symptoms are not severe, most over-the-counter (OTC) medications should help control your seasonal allergies. Nasal sprays and inhalants and oral OTC antihistamines can effectively manage your symptoms. If your symptoms are not controlled, consider switching brands periodically to make sure your medication is still packing the greatest punch. Be sure to pay particular attention as to whether the medication you choose can cause drowsiness. Some varieties come in a non-sedating form that may be a good option, unless you are planning on going to bed right after taking them.
The timing of your medication is also important. If you are planning on being outside in the afternoon, take your medicine at lunch time so it has plenty of time to get into your system before the pollen does. Additionally, keeping an eye on pollen counts will help you to know what days you should absolutely stay inside.
If you find that your allergies cannot be controlled by OTC methods, you may want to consider visiting an allergist. An allergist can help you determine precisely what you are allergic to and develop a treatment plan. In some cases, prescription medications can help relieve severe allergy symptoms.