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Tips for Minimizing Pesky Allergy Symptoms

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April 18, 2007

Chicago -

Understanding Allergy Triggers May Help You Find Relief

If you’re one of the nearly 35 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies, then you’re probably familiar with the itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing that wreak havoc during the spring and early fall months. Allergy season spans several months and while you can’t avoid triggers all together, it’s important to know which allergens are most potent during each season so you can identify the culprits that most affect you and take steps that may offer some relief.

Kris McGrath, MD, from the Division of Allergy-Immunology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital suggests the following tips to help allergy sufferers survive the season. 

Close Your Windows 

Lessen the amount of pollens, weeds and molds entering your home by closing windows at night and, if possible, using air conditioning instead to dry and clean the air in your home.

Minimize Outdoor Activity 

Until you have your allergies under control, try to minimize the amount of time spent outside when pollen counts are high; usually during early morning or on windy or humid days. If you can, stay away from freshly cut grass and avoid raking leaves which can stir up grass pollen and mold spores.

Take a Shower 

Take a shower at night before bed to remove any build-up of pollen collected on the skin and hair during the day.

Protect Your Bedding 

Wash bedding regularly to remove any pollen or mold spores that may have collected. And whatever you do, don’t line dry.  Drying your bedding outdoors will only accumulate allergens all over again. The same goes for your clothing, so if you are an allergy sufferer, be sure to stick to the dryer.

Over-the-Counter Medications 

Over-the-counter medications such as non-sedating antihistamines and decongestants can ease sufferers’ discomfort. Talk to your doctor about medications that are most appropriate for your allergies and may provide relief.

Seek a Physician’s Help 

If being conscious of allergy triggers and over-the-counter medications simply aren’t offering enough relief, it may be time to seek help from an allergist or your primary care physician. A doctor can run tests to identify your specific allergies and prescribe medications or shots for your specific symptoms.

'Tis the Season

March to April: Tree Pollen Pollen floating in the air from such trees as oak, elm and birch triggers seasonal allergic rhinitis in the early spring.

May-July: Grass Pollen During the late spring and early summer months, pollinating grasses including Bermuda, orchard and timothy are responsible for most allergy symptoms.

August-October: Ragweed The most common culprit for late summer and fall allergies is ragweed but other weeds like sagebrush, pigweed and tumbleweed can also trigger allergic reactions.

Late October-November: Mold  While molds do not have seasons, mold spores from falling leaves during the fall months have been known to activate allergy symptoms.

Last UpdateFebruary 8, 2011
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