April showers might bring May flowers, but they also bring an influx of pollen that causes our allergies to flare up. Most of us are familiar with the itchy eyes, runny noses and irritating sneezes triggered by spring allergies but don’t have a dependable way to treat our symptoms.
Many resort to obscene amounts of over-the-counter allergy medicines when signs of allergies begin to appear, but what about those of us who want an alternative to popping a whole bottle of Claritin? Several experienced medical professionals enlightened us with their best allergy-relief advice, so that we can focus on spring-time commitments without the runny nose.
What most people do not know is that we can try to predict the severity of the upcoming allergy season. Dr. Michael Manning, FAAAAI at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, provided us with an easy way to determine how serious the season will be.
Allergens in the air correlate with how much rainfall there is. For example, if the winter months are filled with rainy days, the spring allergy season will be more intense. A basic rule to remember is the more precipitation, the worse the following allergy season will be. Dr. Manning advises that this coming spring should be more severe than last spring, because we experienced a lot of winter rainfall. So brace yourselves, Arizonans, and pay close attention to the following guidelines.
The first step you should take in treating your allergies is attempting to prevent them. Theresa Ruschetti, LPN at Allergy & Dermatology Specialists, advises several simple ways to reduce the pollen around you:
✿ Shower every night in order to remove all of the pollen that has collected on your hair and skin throughout the day.
✿ Wash your sheets weekly in hot water.
✿ Dust weekly to limit allergens.
✿ If you are taking an antihistamine, take it before you go to bed in order to maximize its effectiveness. Allergens peak from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., so you want to make sure that the medication has time to get into your system before you start your day.
If prevention does not do the trick, there are multiple medications and treatment options to combat allergies.
Antihistamines: These will help alleviate a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, nasal and eye itching and post nasal drip. Some popular antihistamines include Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine).
Decongestants: This type of medication will help unblock a stuffed up nose Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is a popular decongestant. Although is it sold behind the counter, it does not require a prescription.
Nasal Sprays: There are two types of nasal sprays – nasal steroid spray (prescription) and nasal antihistamine spray. These sprays are most effective when taken just prior to allergy season. Manning recommends, “If a patient typically develops symptoms in April, it would be best to start the nasal spray in the middle of March.”
Allergy Shots: There are weekly allergy injections you can receive that can eliminate the use of antihistamines. Although you have to get the injections consistently, after a few months of use you can reduce your appointments to every three weeks. Ruschetti informed us that many patients claim these shots work better than over-the-counter medicines.
By utilizing the preceding advice, seasonal allergies should be no hindrance to your springtime plans. Stop by the drugstore to pick up the essentials and make sure you rinse off before bed tonight so that you’ll be ready to conquer any allergen that comes your way.