Tips to Help Manage Spring Allergies
It’s not your imagination—spring allergies are worse
in the Triad area, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America
(AAFA). This spring, AAFA ranked Winston-Salem and Greensboro as a most
challenging place to live for spring allergy sufferers in the U.S.
Cities were evaluated on their pollen score and allergy
“The Triad area offers a wide variety of trees and
other pollen-producing plants that create higher than average pollen scores
when compared to other cities around the country,” said James Whitman Mims, M.D., associate professor of
otolaryngology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Simple tweaks to
a daily routine can help manage these allergens.”
Mims offered tips to help control and reduce
exposure to allergens:
exposure to allergy triggers:
inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are
a shower, wash hair and change clothes after working or playing outdoors.
a N95 dust/particulate filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other outdoor chores.
hanging laundry outside — pollen can stick to items.
can help reduce eye irritation from pollen.
- Close doors and windows
when pollen counts are high.
- Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose
and watery eyes.
diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is the most commonly recognized antihistamine,
doctors recommend trying less-sedating antihistamines including loratadine,
fexofenadine and cetirizine for allergies.
- Decongestants come in oral and nasal spray form and offer
temporary relief from nasal stuffiness.
steroid sprays work well for nasal pollen allergies. Daily use through the
pollen season is often most effective.
For some, over-the-counter medications and avoiding
allergens are not enough to ease symptoms. Those who suffer from severe allergies
should speak to their physician about prescription drugs or consult with an
allergist about completing immunotherapy (allergy shots) which can help reduce symptoms.
“It’s important to take medicine early and prevent
the symptoms before they begin," said Mims. "If you take medicine after
the symptoms are in full force, it's much harder to stop the allergic reaction
than to prevent it from the beginning."