Oh spring, the time of year filled with endless sneezes, persistent coughs and itchy eyes! With a new tree blooming every day, spring is beautiful on the eye just not in the eyes. Most people who complain and show symptoms of severe allergies during the springtime and late summer into fall have a pollen allergy. Pollen is a very fine powder-like substance consisting of extremely small grains produced by the male parts of trees, ragweed, grass and leaves. We can dive in even deeper, but I will spare you the monotonous science lesson. Tree and grass pollen are most bothersome during the early spring into summer months and geographically affect dry, warm and windy areas the most. If you have never been tested for allergies and are suffering, an allergist is able to obtain allergy tests to determine what is triggering your allergies. Taking a trip to an allergist is important, especially if you are an asthmatic who seems to experience more flare-ups in spring.
Here are some of my favorite allergy tips and tricks I share with my patients during this “pollen” filled time.
- Wash Eyelashes– First thing in the morning, take a warm washcloth, fold it in half, close your eyes and wipe from the inner part of the eye (near the nose) to the outmost part of the eye. Allergens can land on our eyelashes overnight and cause itchy eyes throughout the day if not taken care of in the morning. You can use this washcloth throughout the day as well.
- Pollen Predictor-It sounds ridiculous but subscribing to receive an allergy alert email (https://www.pollen.com/allergy/allergy-alert/?ref=pollen-allergy) will help you best prepare for your day. If the pollen count is high, eat lunch inside, keep your windows closed, wear sunglasses outdoors, take your anti-allergy medication and choose to stand over dirt, rather than grass during your child’s sports game.
- Over the Counter Medication- Taking over the counter medication is a great way to control seasonal allergies. After years of speaking with patients and seeing results, I have concluded that the best time to take the daily pill is right before going to bed for the night. Children’s Zyrtec is great for the young ones. The medication comes in both chewable and liquid. For my patients with asthma, I use Zyrtec daily during the allergy months to help aid in the prevention of asthma attacks. If you are having asthma flares, talk to your doctor about starting an allergy medication daily. Flonase is a nasal spray sold over the counter at your local drug store. Flonase works best for post-nasal drip leading to constant coughing or clearing of the throat. A little trick with Flonase is that if sprayed daily through the nose, Flonase can help with the feeling of “clogged” or “fluid filled” ears.
- Natural Remedies-If you prefer to stick with natural remedies for allergies, turmeric capsules are a great alternative to the over the counter allergy medications. Several patients have reported to me that taking Tumeric daily, helped to control their allergies. Nasal saline spray is a natural, medication- free spray used to clear your nasal passages. Filling the bathroom with steam, taking some deep breathes and blowing your nose is a natural way to clear your sinuses before going to bed. Cool Mist humidifiers may help with the symptoms that come along with allergies.
I wish you the best when it comes to battling your allergies this spring!