7 Ways To Prepare For Allergy Season, According To Experts
Spring has officially sprung. The days are quickly getting warmer, the trees are becoming greener, and the gloominess of winter is beginning to lift. However, on a not-so-pleasant note, the arrival of spring also means allergy season will soon be in full bloom (pun totally intended). You may still be recovering from the last few frigid months, but preparing for allergy season can help you beat the springtime sniffles before they become unbearable.
Dr. Tania Elliott, an allergist and spokesperson for Flonase, tells Bustle that there are a couple of common culprits that cause these pesky, springtime allergies. “Tree pollen is the most common trigger for spring allergy season, starting mid-March, and lasting until the end of May. Then we see grass pollen kick in from late may-end of July, followed by weed and ragweed pollen, causing allergies in August until the first frost,” she explains. Elliott adds that dust mites also frequently trigger allergies. This microscopic critter can especially affect anyone who is planning to Marie Kondo their wardrobe before summer.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, allergies are the sixth leading chronic illness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 50 million people. Some of the common symptoms of allergies include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, fever, and even nausea. It may still seem low priority, but tackling your allergies before they get out of hand can ensure you get to enjoy all the wonderful aspects about Spring. Here are seven tips from experts on how to prep for allergy season like a pro.
1. Stock Up On Your Medication Ahead Of Time
Instead of waiting until the last minute to visit your physician or pharmacy, try to snag your medications before you're starting to experience allergy symptoms. Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy and Asthma Network, says to begin using "allergy pills, nasal sprays, and [your] inhaler prior to season starting — ideally, two weeks before."
2. Be Consistent With Your Medications
Not only is stocking up on allergy medication ahead of time important, but so is checking in with your doc to make sure you're using them correctly. "One of the most common misconceptions I see in clinical practice is people using nasal steroid sprays after their symptoms start, and only as needed," says Elliott. "These medicines don’t work this way."
As Tonic reported, over-the-counter allergy medicines are generally safe for long-term use, and can be taken for those suffering with daily allergies.
3. Clean Your Bedroom
Spring cleaning can be a bore, but taking on this task can help you beat some of your seasonal allergies. "Make your bedroom allergy-proof," says Parikh. "Air purifiers, dust mite covers, [and] removing rugs will reduce your indoor allergen load, so when outdoor allergens arrive, it will be more manageable." She adds that keeping your windows shut "during peak pollen seasons, such as early morning," can also be beneficial to your health.
4. Download A Pollen Tracking App
If you want to get ahead of your springtime allergies, Elliott suggests downloading a pollen tracking app — such as the Weather Channel’s Allergy Tracker — to limit your exposure to this common trigger.
5. See A Physician
Of course, checking in with your healthcare provider about your allergies is always a good idea. Parikh says to "see a board certified allergist to learn your triggers, and [to learn] if you are managing them correctly."
6. Avoid Products That Attract Pollen
According to Elliott, certain items can make you more susceptible to setting off pollen-related allergies. "On moderate to high pollen count days, be sure to take precautions like [...] avoiding wearing hairspray because pollen can stick to your hair. And consider wearing glasses instead of contact lenses (pollen can get stuck to contacts), or wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes," she says.
7. Wipe Down Your A/C Vents And Ceiling Fans
The spring ushers in much welcomed warmer temperatures. However, before you go turning on your air conditioning and ceiling fans, make sure you wipe them both down really well. "You want to avoid turning them on for the first time when they are dirty, which can pollute the air," Elliott says.
Seasonal allergies are annoying, but for the most part, manageable, if you're proactive about it. Consider testing out these physician-approved tips that can keep you from sneezing and wheezing your way through spring.