Allergy sufferers may be especially sneezy and itchy this spring, as indicators point to an exceptionally early and long allergy season.
Why? The winter weather during 2016 and early 2017 was erratic and broke many temperature and snow fall records. It was a long, cold weather. Normally, spring and warm weather come gradually. However, in April of this year there have already been record setting temperatures into the 80s in some parts of the country. Normally trees release pollen gradually throughout the year. These unusual summer-like temperatures in early spring have resulted in pollen being released quickly. This has caused pollen counts, which are indicators for allergies, to rise to high levels normally seen during the fall season.
For many people suffering from allergies, this means miserable symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, head congestion, watery eyes and inability to tolerate being outdoors when the pollen is at its worst.
People who have allergies should keep track of the pollen counts so they can takes the steps needed to reduce their allergy symptoms. Local pollen counts (pollen levels) can be checked on line at weather sites. Local TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers often list local pollen levels.
When pollen levels are predicted to be high, allergy sufferers should begin to take allergy medication before the symptoms begin. Antihistamines will stop itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Over-the- counter medicines such as Claritin, Alavert and Zyrtec are nonsleepy allergy medications that can be used while working. Over the counter antistamines that cause sleepiness include Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton, and are excellent choices in the evening before bedtime. If over-the-counter medications do not relieve symptoms, a physician should be seen for possible prescription medications, shots or further testing.
What to avoid
Pollen counts are highest in the morning, so avoid being outdoors for extended periods of time early in the morning. Keep windows and doors closed when you go to bed in the evening to keep pollen from sneaking into the house early in the morning.
Reduce allergy symptoms by staying inside during windy, dry days when pollen will be freely blowing around. The time to be outside during allergy season is after it rains (rain clears the pollen from the air). Allergy sufferers should not mow lawns or do garden work that exacerbate their symptoms. Pollen can attach itself to clothes; therefore, laundry should not hung outside to dry. You can find other tips to avoid allergy symptoms here.
If being outside cannot be avoided during allergy season, wear a dust mask while outside. When coming inside, change clothes that may been exposed to pollen and take a shower to remove pollen from hair and skin.
Allergies can make a person feel miserable. Allergy sufferers can protect themselves by keeping track of the pollen count, taking allergy medicine if needed, reducing time spent outside and making some adjustments to help make this unusually bad allergy season more tolerable.