Over the weekend, we all lost an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time and the need to set our clocks forward. However, a little less rest is not the only concern raised as the spring season is just around the corner. While many households, weary from a long winter of brutal storms, may be looking forward to throwing open the windows to allow the warm breeze into their home, this common practice also provides an opportunity for allergens to wreak havoc on the immune systems of those inside.
Over 40 millions Americans experience moderate to severe allergy symptoms at some point throughout the year. In fact, the odds are pretty good that you are one of those millions, considering that indoor and outdoor allergies were recently named one of the top five chronic diseases in the United States.
Allergy symptoms commonly flare up during seasonal transitions, especially from winter to spring and from summer to fall. If you notice that you tend to experience sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy, watery eyes during these times of the year, there is a good chance that you may have seasonal allergies.
Here are some tips to help you reduce your exposure to allergy “triggers” and reduce the severity of your symptoms:
- Stay inside between 5:00 am and 10:00 am and on windy days, when pollen levels are at their peak.
- Clean and/or replace your air filters at least once a year, but prefarably before both major seasonal transitions.
- Utilize High-efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPA).
- Keep your windows closed and set the air conditioner to use recirculated air.
- Avoid hanging laundry outdoors, where it may gather pollen and other allergens that you will then be exposed to upon wearing the items.
While these practices and many more can significantly reduce the negative effects of your seasonal allergies, the most effective means of treating seasonal allergy symptoms is by using an over-the-counter medication. Thankfully, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new family of medications under the name Clarinex for over-the-counter use and distribution for anyone two years of age and older. Clarinex provides relief and noticeable changes in symptom severity fast. It is ideal for both children and adults, because it provides fast, effective allergy relief without making the user feel sluggish and groggy. Even better, the medication is now going to be available at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or mass merchandiser without a prescription. That means that all you busy moms and dads can run to the store to grab instant relief for both you and your children without having to first schedule an appointment with your physician.
Considering that some studies estimate that as many as 2 million school days and 4 million workdays are lost each year due to allergies, this seems to be a very substantial step in the right direction for treatment and prevention of debilitating allergy symptoms.
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