Identifying Allergies and Their Symptoms
It’s good to have a sense of what you’re up against before the season hits. Although there are variations among the many regions of the United States, spring allergies usually appear during February and don’t fade until the beginning of summer. Some of the more common airborne allergies that thrive during this time include grasses, weeds and tree pollen. The most common symptoms caused by these seasonal allergies include a runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, sore throat and the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
Before you begin planning your defenses, it’s important to first consult your doctor or a licensed allergist to get an exact read on what you’re specifically allergic to. This is done with a simple test that can take as little as 15 minutes.
Once you’ve pinpointed your specific allergies, begin experimenting with different over-the-counter, non-sedating antihistamines (allergy medications). Some of the more common brands are Claritin®, Zyrtec®, and Allegra®. It’s best to start with a daily dose in the morning and monitor your symptoms anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Be attentive though because it’s possible to build-up a tolerance to a specific brand. In which case, you will want to switch to a different brand to continue receiving relief from your symptoms.
There are also over-the-counter eye drops and nasal decongestants that you can use for relief. However, recent studies have shown that "over-the-counter nasal sprays are extremely effective, but they are also extremely addictive." Therefore, it’s best to use in moderation and to keep a watchful eye on the effectiveness of the spray. If used too often, your body may begin to solely rely on the spray for combating allergens, which isn’t good for your immune system.
So, you’ve loaded up your defense and pinpointed your specific allergies — what’s next? Now, it’s time to prevent or avoid situations where your allergies may become bothered. Since the majority of springtime allergens are airborne, you are guaranteed to come into contact with them while outdoors. The trick is to prevent them from following you indoors. To do this, make sure you keep all your windows closed and routinely change your A/C filters during the springtime when allergies are peaking — it may feel great outside, but allowing the cool spring air into your home comes at a very irritating price.
You should also begin religiously washing your clothes and sheets to remove any allergens brought indoors. Allergens can, and most likely will, stick to any exposed areas of your body. So, to be extra cautious, its best to wash off before getting into your bed — otherwise, your tossing and turning will be accompanied by scratching and sneezing.
A/C systems with allergen blocking filters can be one of your best defenses against annoying springtime allergies. Learn more about useful air conditioner maintenance tips and how to prevent those unlucky flare-ups.