Spring allergies can worsen depending on the weather

Here's how to know, and avoid, your allergy triggers


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If you sneeze and cough, or your nose and eyes itch and are runny during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. Grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers.

In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early. A rainy spring can also promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold, causing symptoms to last well into the fall.

While the timing and severity of an allergy season vary across the country, the following climate factors also can influence the severity of your symptoms:

Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.

Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.

Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.

Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.

On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded.

When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.

Know your triggersMoving to another climate to avoid allergies is usually not successful — allergens are virtually everywhere.

Know your triggers. You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well. More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms. An allergist can help you find the source of your suffering and stop it, not just treat the symptoms.

Work with your allergist to devise strategies to avoid your triggers:

Monitor pollen and mold counts. Weather reports in newspapers and on radio and television often include this information during allergy seasons.

Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season.

Know which pollens you are sensitive to and then check pollen counts. In spring and summer, during tree and grass pollen season, levels are highest in the evening. In late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, levels are highest in the morning.

Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.

Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors.

Your allergist may also recommend one or more medications to control symptoms. Some of the most widely recommended drugs are available without a prescription (over the counter); others, including some nose drops, require a prescription.

If you have a history of prior seasonal problems, allergists recommend starting medications to alleviate symptoms two weeks before they are expected to begin.

One of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies linked to pollen is immunotherapy (allergy shots). These injections expose you over time to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.

Source: American College of Allergy Asthma, and Immunology: acaai.org
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