Surviving Spring Allergies

Surviving Spring Allergies

Sneezing; itchy ears, nose and throat; runny or stuffy nose; coughing; watery and itchy eyes – these symptoms blossom each spring for some 35 million Americans.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as “hay fever,” can make beautiful spring days miserable.  In order to treat allergies effectively, it’s best to have a qualified allergist/immunologist examine you and determine your allergen triggers and an appropriate treatment.

The most common spring allergens include:
* Pollen, a fine powder released by trees, weeds and grasses. Ash, cottonwood, poplar, elm and maple are some common spring pollinating trees.
* Johnson, Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass and rye are possible grass allergens.
* Molds are microscopic fungi with spores that float in the air like pollen. Molds don’t have a specific season, but are more affected by weather conditions.
* Dust and pet dander are common allergy triggers found inside the home.

“Symptoms can be minimized by staying inside air-conditioned environments,” says Gretta Bogaard, a Sam’s Club Pharmacy Manager. “If people have an activity they love, which requires time outdoors, check the weather/pollen reports to determine which day of the week has lower ragweed/pollen counts. Pre-medication with oral or ophthalmic antihistamines might also help to reduce symptoms when going outside.”

Other tips for managing spring allergies include:
* Keep home and car windows closed to prevent pollens or mold spores from drifting in. To keep air cool and fresh, turn on the air conditioning (set on “recirculation”), which also cleans and dries the air.
* Maintain a clean environment at your home and, if you’re able, your office.
* Minimize early morning outside activity between 5 and 10 a.m., when the greatest amount of pollen is usually released.
* Try to stay inside when the pollen count or humidity is reported to be high, and on windy days when dust and pollen are likely to be more of a problem.
* Take medications prescribed by your allergist/immunologist regularly, in the recommended dosage.
* Flush your nasal cavities regularly with an over-the-counter saline spray which provides relief of congestion.

Pharmacists, like those at Sam’s Club, are easily accessible and can offer a wide variety of over-the-counter treatment options for non-life-threatening allergy responses. If these options are unsuccessful, though, it would be advisable to consult with a physician.

Spring allergies don’t have to keep you from enjoying the season. For more tips and information, visit