How to Ease Allergy Symptoms – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
If you’re bothered by seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. For three months out of every year, an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from watery eyes, sneezing, and runny noses. Basically, an allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to a normally innocuous substance – one that doesn’t bother most other people. In the springtime, pollen is the most likely culprit, and the Tampa Bay area, with its warm, humid climate and high pollen counts, is particularly tough on allergy sufferers. The pollen from oaks, junipers, and nettles generally peaks between mid-February and mid-April, and because pollen can travel great distances with the wind, the source of your symptoms might not even be nearby.
Of course, you won’t be able to manage your allergies until you know for sure what causes them. Once you’ve consulted with a health care provider and received an accurate diagnosis, you’ll know your triggers and can prepare to confront them. At that point, your best defense is prevention. Here are some steps you can take to keep your symptoms at bay:
- Start your prescribed allergy medications, such as steroid nasal sprays, two to four weeks prior to the spring bloom.
- To enhance their effectiveness, continue to use your prescription or over-the-counter allergy medications every day during pollen season – don’t wait for your nose to run or your eyes to water.
- Whenever possible, avoid exposure – don’t have a picnic under that big oak tree in the park!
- Try not to introduce pollen into your home. After being outside, remove your clothes and shower as soon as you come indoors. Either wash your pollen-coated clothing immediately, or store it in a bag. Don’t forget that dogs can carry pollen in their fur, too.
- Keep your windows closed and use your air conditioner. Even though you might be tempted to enjoy those refreshing spring breezes, don’t – in addition to warm air, you’ll be basking in pollen.
- Launder your sheets and bedding in hot water at least once a week.
- Avoid going outside during the midday hours, when the pollen counts are at their highest.
- Try washing the inside of your nose with a saline rinse.
- If you normally wear contact lenses, try wearing glasses during allergy season to reduce potential eye irritation.
If your symptoms are severe, or you are unable to find relief through conservative treatments and prevention methods like those listed above, you should consult with a physician. Left untreated, allergies can cause complications in patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions. A physician can evaluate your symptoms and recommend a course of action to help you feel better.
For more advice on how to keep yourself and your family healthy, be sure to review our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.