It’s an almost invisible pest floating through the air, but pollen can wreak havoc on your allergies. Doctors have said this year could be a rough one. Those with allergies are preparing for sneezing spells, watery eyes, and running noses as the weather finally warms up in many parts of the country.
“My allergies are a constant problem,” Fenita Seals said. “I should buy stock in over the counter allergy meds.”
Seals is one of many effected by allergies. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one in ten Americans have seasonal allergies.
“You can distinguish allergy symptoms from a cold because a cold tends to be short-lived, results in thicker nasal secretions, and is usually associated with sore throat, hoarseness, malaise, and fever,” says Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., an allergist and immunologist in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Many people with allergies notice a seasonal pattern with their symptoms, but others may need a health care professional’s help to find out for sure if pollen is the source of their misery.”
Many people can battle their allergies with over the counter medications, mostly decongestants or antihistamines. Others needs a little more power to kick their symptoms and turn to nasal sprays like Flonase or Nasonex. Typically these are used twice a day to clear the nostrils and symptoms begin to improve in about 12 hours.
Tips to avoid pollen in all seasons
- In the late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the morning.
- In the spring and summer, during the grass pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the evening.
- Some molds, another allergy trigger, may also be seasonal. For example, leaf mold is more common in the fall.
- Sunny, windy days can be especially troublesome for pollen allergy sufferers.
For those dealing with allergies every season it’s become an annual issue. “I can’t simply stay indoors,” Seals said. “I’ll just keep taking the medication I can and try to push through.”
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