It’s that time of the year again – allergy season.

Seasonal allergies affect people the most during the summer and spring, when flowers and trees start to bloom and produce pollen. For many of us, allergies cause itchy eyes, congestion, runny noses and other symptoms that make it difficult to enjoy the early weeks of spring.

Depending on your allergy, it can be difficult to avoid irritants altogether. However, there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms or reduce your exposure to common allergens.

Before leaving your home, check your local daily weather report for mold, pollen and ragweed counts. Knowing the levels of common outdoor allergens can help you determine the best times to spend time outdoors without triggering your symptoms.

Another tip is to keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car to keep irritants out of the areas where you spend the most time. Also, showering and changing your clothes after spending time outside allows you to wash off any allergens that may have attached to your skin, hair or clothing.

If you are unsure of what is causing your symptoms, Avni Jain, MD, a primary care physician with Adventist Medical Group, recommends allergy testing. “During a skin test, your doctor will prick your arm or back with different allergens and observe your skin’s reaction,” she says. “You may also choose to get a blood test to determine your allergy.”

Most seasonal allergy symptoms are treatable with over-the-counter medications. More severe symptoms may require treatment by your physician.

Allergies- Things to Consider

  • Try an antihistamine. You will usually find relief with 10 milligrams of medication.
  • Keep your home cool and dry. Keeping your home temp in the mid to low 60s and the humidity between 40% and 45% should keep dust mites away.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in hot water. This will keep away all the possible allergens away.

Sources: Mayoclinic. Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.