Most common spring allergies and how to treat them

By Hristina Byrnes
March 17, 2016, 12:25:01 PM EDT


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Depending on where you live, the changing of the seasons is not at all welcome for allergy sufferers. Spring allergies, especially from oak palms, are an “epidemic” in Florida already, according to Dr. Richard Lockey, Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, but the hay fever period is yet to hit other parts of the country.

“This promises to be a significant pollen allergy season because we have had a lot of winter precipitation,” Dr. Mrinalini Borczuk, an allergist at Long Island City Allergy in New York, says. Warmer winters give trees an early start at pollenating.

Nasal drip and congestion are key allergy symptoms -- along with eye, nose, and throat itch, throat pain, sneezing, chronic sinus headaches, and a nagging cough or cold. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or airborne mold spores.

Allergic rhinitis makes the lives of 40 million to 60 million Americans miserable every spring. This is the tree pollen season and it can last until mid-May, according to Dr. Anju Peters, Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Division of Allergy-Immunology. Allergies to pollen from grass usually kick in in May.

There is no cure for spring allergies, but there are several ways in which you can manage the symptoms and alleviate how they affect you. The best combination is prevention, avoidance and treatment, according to Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology. “While pollen cannot be avoided, exposure to it can be significantly diminished."


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Wash the AC filter every week Unless you have a centralized AC system in your home, you can remove and wash the filter, Dr. Borczuk says. “I’ll definitely do it weekly during pollen season,” she says. “Otherwise you’re inviting pollen in your home.”


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Take outerwear off at the front door as soon as you walk in

Your jacket, pants and shoes will inevitably trap pollen when you’re outside. There is no escape from the tiny grains surrounding you. "You don’t want to take them into living quarters," Dr. Borczuk says. Keep that in mind especially on windy days that keep pollen circulating through the air.


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Forget about morning workouts outside

“The hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when pollen levels are highest are the worst,” Dr. Hadjiev says. Work out inside or at night, if you insist on exercising outside. Wear a hat because your hair can store a lot of pollen. “You must if you don’t want to take medication,” Dr. Peters adds.

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