Pollen Survival Guide: Tips for Spring Allergies

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Springtime brings not just deliciously longer days, warmer weather, balmy breezes and blooming flowers. For people with allergies, it means the return of pollen. jogging with you, they are a pollen-carrier, too, Wolbert says. “Often people blame the dog for an allergy, and it might be the pollen on the pet.”

When possible, avoid early morning outings with the dog on high pollen days, especially if it’s windy.

Fourth, Protect Yourself From Pollen When You Go Outdoors

“When people do have to be outside at a high pollen time, wearing a mask is a good filter,” says Leftwich. He suggests getting a painter’s mask at your local hardware store or home improvement center.

“If you have bad pollen allergies and you are the one who has to do the yard work, wearing a mask is a good idea,” he says. They don’t look fashionable, he admits, but reminds his patients: “It’s not a social occasion.”

When you’re outside, minimize your exposure to pollutants and other allergens as well, suggests Wolbert. If you go jogging later in the day when pollen tends to die down, pick a residential street instead of a thoroughfare to avoid car exhaust.

Also, adds Leftwich: “Take your allergy medicines before you go outside. People wait until they are miserable and then take it. For some reason they think [an allergy attack] is not going to happen this time.”

Fifth, Keep Pollen From Following You Into the House

As soon as you arrive home — even if you’ve just been in the backyard — change your clothes and take a shower to rid your body of as much pollen as possible, Leftwich says.

Don’t forget your hair, especially if it is long, Leftwich says. “Just rinsing your hair would do.”

Sixth, Treat Your Pollen Allergies

A variety of over-the-counter and prescription can help your allergy symptoms such as , itchy eyes, congestion, and .

Get an evaluation from an allergist to help find the best allergy remedy for you, Wolbert says. The doctor may recommend an antihistamine, other allergy pills, inhaled allergy treatments, or even allergy shots.

Beware of overusing nasal sprays. Using decongestant sprays for more than three days in a row, he says, can lead to a “>allergy symptoms may become worse than before you started the medicine.

If your pollen allergies are bad, talk to your doctor about preventive treatment with or inhaled steroids. Start taking the treatment before pollen season starts.

You might also consider allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy) if you suffer severe allergies. The doctor injects a small amount of the allergen that affects you, building up your immunity over time. Typically, the injection is given once a week or once a month. “It usually takes three to five years of allergy shots,” Wolbert says, to build up immunity to the allergen.

“Most people get good results, if they stick with the recommended number of injections,” he says.

Seventh, Take an Allergy Vacation

If pollen still drags you down after taking all the six steps above, consider taking an allergy vacation.

When pollen season is in full swing, take a trip to an area less affected by pollen, such as the beach or the seashore nearest to your hometown. Relax! You deserve it.