How to win the war on allergies

With the arrival of Spring comes bursts of blooms and pollen. You may have seen more dust on the windshield of your car in the morning or are finding you are rubbing irritated eyes.


While Spring brings hope and beauty, it also brings seasonal allergies, also known allergic rhinitis. People young and old can experience allergies, and can have mild or severe reactions.


But is it allergies, influenza or COVID-19?

Seasonal Allergies

Influenza

COVID-19

Itchy or watery eyes

+

Sneezing

+

fever & chills

+

+

muscle aches

+

+

new loss of taste or smell

+

nausea or vomiting

+

+

diarrhea

+

+

cough

+

+

+

fatigue

+

+

+

headache

+

+

+

sore throat

+

+

+

difficulty breathing

+

+

+

runny nose

+

+

+

*Partial list.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America compiled a complete upper respiratory symptom comparison chart.


Now that you are certain your symptoms are allergies, control is key to identify and reducing those irritating allergens. The most common allergens are animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, mold/mildew and pollen. Working with your doctor, your allergens and treatment can be most effective. In the interim, let's reduce your risk!


CLEANING

Create an easy to follow schedule. Bedrooms should be dusted and vacuumed. Allergies are one area where disposable items are your friend. Using a Swiffer and disposing of the duster minimizes spreading of pollen, dust and dander. Bed linens should changed weekly. Bed linens should be washed in the hottest water on the longest cycle to kill dust mites. Many people use excessive amounts of laundry detergent and residue actually attracts more dirt and dust! Make sure linens receive an extra rinse. Use special dust mite-proof mattress and pillow covers.


Be sure to close windows and use air conditioning or central heat to avoid pollen. HVAC systems should be evaluated by a good technician annually and filters should be replaced routinely. It's helpful to setup Amazon Subscribe & Save to have filters delivered to your desired schedule.


SELF-CARE

Showering at night can help remove the dust, dander and pollen picked up throughout the day. Cold compresses can reduce the pressure and swelling over the face if you are at work or school and have a flare.


Saline nasal sprays or irrigation effectively reduce exposure to pollen and dander. Avoid using decongestant nasal sprays or eye drops that constrict vessels in the eye.


Local honey mixed into warm black tea and reduce throat irritation. Vitamin C rich foods like pineapple, oranges and tomatoes are natural antihistamines.


Diffused peppermint, eucalyptus or thyme essential oil can reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of allergies.


Be gentle with yourself, you may feel foggy and tired on high pollen days.


SURROUNDINGS

Pet allergies are common. Do not let your pet sleep in your bed or where you lounge as their dander will be difficult, or impossible, to minimize.


When maintaining or designing gardens, reduce or eliminate plants that produce high amounts of pollen. The Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS) is a rating from 1 (the best) to 10 (most allergenic). The Pollen Library can help to identify mild, moderate and severe allergens by season and county. You can also sign up for allergy alerts to increase bathing on high pollen days.


TAKEAWAY

Seasonal allergies aren't just irritating, they're problematic symptoms that interfere with school, work, and our immune systems. Reducing exposure through cleaning, minimizing high pollen plants, and managing pets helps us to feel more comfortable. Seeing your doctor to determine if your symptoms are infectious or allergic is key to finding the right solution.

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