As temperatures reach above 50 degrees, plants begin to bloom and release pollen into the air.
Those with spring seasonal allergies will usually start to see symptoms in early March and lasting through May.
Tree pollen has already started to show up in pollen counts, so it is important to start preparing for allergies now, before pollen reaches peak spring levels.
Dr. Tim Franxman, Board-Certified Allergist, Family Allergy & Asthma, has some ways to help ease the pain for people who struggle with allergies:
Use your allergy medication daily: Many people only use allergy medication when they are feeling their allergy symptoms, however most allergy medications should be used daily. Typically, allergy medication works best if it is already in your system or taken directly after you’ve come in contact with the cause of your allergies - not after you already feel bad.
Time for a spring cleaning: Sweep out the winter cobwebs and get started on your spring cleaning. A deep spring clean includes dusting everything from the light fixtures to the bookcases, washing curtains, sweeping floors and rugs, and even vacuuming furniture. This will remove any dust and pollen that has already made its way inside. If you are out sprucing up the yard, wear a NI0SH 95 mask to reduce the inhalation of allergens. When you are done for the day, be sure to change your clothes and shower. Pollen can stick to your clothes and hair, making it easy to track pollen spores throughout your home.
Monitor pollen counts: Tree and grass pollen are the main allergy culprits in the spring. Using our Family Allergy & Asthma patient app or by visiting our website, you can view the local pollen counts. Tracking the days when your allergies are worse can help you plan accordingly. Stay inside during the mid-morning and early evening to avoid peak pollen hours on days in which the pollen count is high.
Change your HVAC air filters seasonally: As we often suggest, it is best to change your air filter every 3 months; this helps keep the air inside your home clean. Consider other environmental control products as well, both zippered pillowcases and mattress encasements can help reduce dust mites and even have shown to help with pet allergies.
Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car: When the weather is finally warm outside it is tempting to turn off the heat, open windows, and let the fresh air in. This fresh breeze might feel nice but it will also bring the pollen inside your home. Keeping your windows and doors closed in your home and your car will create safe retreats during the peak pollen season.
What to do If your allergy medication isn't helping: If over-the-counter medication are not keeping your allergies under control, talk to your primary care physician or see a board-certified allergist. An allergist will perform an allergy skin test that will pinpoint exactly what is causing your allergies. Once you're aware of allergens that are bothersome to you, avoidance is the best defense. If avoidance is not possible, allergy shots, or Immunotherapy, can help your body build up an tolerance to harmful allergens.