After the cold, dark days of winter, spring’s arrival is usually a time to celebrate and get outdoors. But for the more than 25 million American adults and children who suffer from spring allergies, getting outdoors may mean sneezing, wheezing, and itchy, watery eyes. If you want to enjoy the warmer temperatures and brighter colors of spring, there are ways to minimize its effects on your body.
At Forest Urgent Care, we understand the frustration that comes with not being able to finally get outside after a long winter because of spring allergies. To help our patients in Forest Hills and Long Island City, New York, breathe easier and see more clearly this spring, we’ve pulled together 10 tips that can help you stay one step ahead of your spring allergies.
One of the best ways to anticipate and plan ahead for spring allergies is to know exactly what you’re up against. There are many potential allergens flying around in the air, starting in late winter and extending through early summer. The pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses come out at different times, so you’d do well to narrow down exactly which one is causing you problems so that you can medicate with an antihistamine at certain times before heading out.
You may have noticed that more weather reports include pollen counts, which are very handy for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Just like we pay attention to wind chill factors in the winter, pollen counts give you a good idea of what you’ll be facing outdoors on any given day.
Pollen is most prevalent between 5 am and 10 am on most spring days, which means you can schedule your outdoor activities around these times.
On a windy day, pollen can travel hundreds of miles, even infiltrating the streets of New York. If you know it’s going to be windy, you may want to reschedule your outdoor activity and wait for a calmer day.
When you head out in the spring, make sunglasses and a hat part of your wardrobe. The glasses will keep pollen away from your eyes, and the hat will keep you from harboring pollen in your hair.
A thorough spring cleaning might have been the brainchild of allergy sufferers. This is the best season to scrub your house from top to bottom and make sure your fabrics (rugs, curtains, and linens) are dust- and mold-free.
And you should keep on top of this cleaning effort throughout the spring, making sure that your home isn’t adding to your hay fever issues.
While you may be tempted to throw open the windows on a beautiful spring day, it’s best if you keep your house as an oasis of allergen-free air. Keep your windows closed and rely on a good HEPA air filtration system to circulate clean air that won’t irritate your respiratory system or eyes.
After you’ve been out, be diligent about washing up to clear away any allergens that you may have brought in on your skin or on your clothing.
If your hay fever is severe, you might consider wearing a mask that will prevent harmful allergens from getting into your airways. You can find an N95 respirator mask -- which blocks up to 95% of the small particles in the air you breathe -- at most pharmacies or home improvement stores.
You should make a good rinse of your sinuses and your eyes part of your daily routine throughout the spring. Neti pots, nasal bulbs, and eye rinsing kits are standard equipment for hay fever sufferers and go a long way toward helping you breathe easier and keeping your eyes clear and hydrated.
There are also many medications that we can recommend for you in order to avoid spring allergies and asthma, and we’d be happy to come up with the best plan for your situation. Simply give us a call or visit one of our clinics.