Seasonal allergies affect approximately 24 million people in the United States. If you’re among them, you know that spring in Texas is especially rough due to pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers at some of their highest levels. Oak trees, cottonwood, elm, and ash are common culprits in our area.
An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts to a normally harmless substance. With spring allergies, you may experience coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. If you have asthma, the allergies can cause flare-ups. Allergies can’t be cured, but the symptoms and reactions can be managed.
At Family Medicine Clinic and Women’s Health in The Woodlands, Texas, the team offers the following recommendations if you’re struggling with spring allergies.
1. Talk to us about allergy medications
Our team can recommend over-the-counter oral antihistamines or prescription medications to help ease your symptoms. We can also recommend the best nasal steroid spray or antihistamine eye drops to relieve your symptoms.
You may also be a candidate for allergy shots, or immunotherapy, that primes your immune system so it’s not as sensitive to allergens.
If you know allergy season is coming and you’re going to develop symptoms, we advise starting allergy medications one or two weeks before the start of the season. That prevents inflammation and blocks some of your worst symptoms.
2. Be aware of daily pollen counts
Your smartphone apps and simple local weather websites help you monitor the level of pollen in the air. When counts are high, avoid being outdoors for long periods. Even if it’s nice outside, exercise indoors. If you must go outdoors, wear sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from pollen and dust in the air.
3. Use your air conditioning
In Texas, it’s already hot enough in the spring to turn on your air conditioning. Close your windows, even in the cooler mornings, to prevent pollen from floating into your home.
Use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter inside your home. HEPA filters are also available for your vacuum cleaner. A HEPA filter eliminates microscopic particles from the environment and reduces your allergy symptoms.
Use your air conditioning in the car, too. Turn on the “recirculate air” setting to stay comfortable during your commute.
4. Take your shoes off indoors
Pollen and dirt travel into your house on your shoes. Remove your shoes at the front door and ask your friends and guests to do the same. Keeping a shoe-free home prevents pollen from getting tracked throughout your house.
5. Practice diligent hygiene
Always change and wash your clothes after being outdoors. Pollen can attach to your clothes. Take a shower and shampoo your hair before bed to make sleep comfortable. While you might be tempted to get fresh-smelling clothes by drying laundry outdoors, stick to a clothes dryer or indoor rack to prevent pollen from adhering to your clothes.
You don’t have to experience severe allergy symptoms this spring. Reach out to us at Family Medicine Clinic and Women’s Health so we can help you figure out your triggers and the best combination of habits and medications to keep your sneezing, watery eyes, and fatigue at bay. Call the office or use this website to book an appointment.