Ah, spring — the season of renewal when shorter, duller days give over to longer days filled with sunshine and vibrant colors. For about 24 million adults and kids in the United States, however, spring is a time of sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, and other unpleasant side effects that can come with seasonal spring allergies.
As allergy specialists, the team here at Advanced ENT & Allergy, including Dr. Timothy Queen, Nancy Gibson, FNP-BC, and Kristi Pham, MSN, FNP-BC, wants our patients to greet spring with enthusiasm rather than dread.
If you’re one of the millions who struggle with seasonal rhinitis, here are some tips to help you thrive rather than just survive during springtime.
Get tested to confirm your seasonal allergies
Seasonal rhinitis is when airborne pollen causes inflammation in your nasal passages and other symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, sore throat, and more.
If these symptoms sound familiar and you only experience them during high-pollen times — spring and fall — the odds are good that you have seasonal allergies. That said, it’s still worth having us confirm your suspicion. Through quick and easy allergy testing, we can check to make sure that it’s the pollen that’s bothering you, not other issues, such as mites, mold, or another allergen that requires a different plan of attack.
If we confirm seasonal allergies, we can design a solid treatment plan that might include nasal sprays and medications.
Weathering springtime allergies
While we can supply you with some valuable allergy tools, there are many ways in which you can lessen the impact of seasonal allergies, including:
Track pollen counts
Along with temps, humidity, and precipitation, most weather sources include pollen counts as part of their air quality reporting. During the spring, make this a regular check so you know before you head out what you’ll be up against, allowing you to plan accordingly and limit your time outdoors.
As long as you’re checking air quality and pollen counts, check the wind, as well, as the moving air makes pollen fly. On windy days, you should stay indoors as much as possible.
Protect your indoor environments
You want a safe haven during high pollen days, so ensure your home qualifies. Installing a good HEPA air filter system is a great first step. Keep pollen out of your house by closing windows, changing clothes as soon as you get home, not hanging clothes to dry outside, etc. Even your dog can bring pollen in, so wipe down your pets before they come in.
Rinse your nose and sinuses often
Nasal rinses are a great way to soothe your irritated nasal passages and sinuses and reduce inflammation. During spring, get your neti pot out and rinse your nose a few times a day with a cleansing saline solution.
Consider a mask
We know that many of us have a bit of mask fatigue, but as long as you still have some lying around, consider wearing one when you head outdoors on high pollen or windy days. Your nasal passages and sinuses will thank you.
For a more personalized plan of attack for springtime allergies, contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to schedule your allergy consultation today.