MountainStar Health - March 15, 2019
by Michael Severance, PA-C

Spring means more sun, blooming trees and grass sprouting— all while you’re trying to increase outside activity after a long winter. If you like many of us, those who have seasonal allergies (more than 36 million), Spring also means sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. Hay fever and allergic rhinitis can make our take the fun out of our season; however, with some strategy, the irritation can be lessened—It’s first about trying to minimize amount and length of exposure, try these simple ideas to keep seasonal allergies under control.

  1. Check pollen counts with weather news reports- Stay indoors on high pollen count/ windy days.
  2. Moderate, find help lawn mowing, leaf blowing- motorized lawn equipment that stir up allergens. You might be better with an old analog push mower and rake.
  3. Remove/change clothes you've worn outside. Swap shirts for a clean one.
  4. Shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair, especially before bed.
  5. Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores you know may be of high pollen exposure (Using lawn edger, leaf blower).
  6. Pollen counts are usually higher in the early morning, so adjust outside activity to later where possible- Avoid leaving windows open at night (unless you have positive air pressure blowing out).
  7. Use air conditioning both home and car with regular filter changes (HEPA filter where you can).

Okay, so you’ve tried to limit and control pollen exposure but still having symptoms, an over-the-counter medication may be helpful- Several types of nonprescription medications can help lower allergy symptoms. They include:

Oral antihistamines

Antihistamines are relatively inexpensive and can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes- they dry stuff up. Examples include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra). Side effects are usually mild, but these can make some people drowsy.

Decongestants

Oral tablets such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Compare there to a race horse, quick and short duration use.

Nasal spray

Nasonex (mometasone), Flonase (fluticasone) and others nasal sprays can be very effective for allergy symptoms with limited side effects- remember they are effective when you begin using it prior to seasonal symptoms and are better with regular daily use. Compare these to a plow horse, slow, steady and long acting.

Management of allergy symptoms can be difficult, but hopefully these ideas help keep momentum in your Spring activities. If you have lingering symptoms, or questions about allergy symptom management, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit to discuss dialing in treatment plan.

If you have questions about your child’s seasonal allergies, schedule an appointment with MountainStar Ogden Pediatrics at MountainStarPediatrics.com or by calling 801-479-0174.