Spring allergy season is here!
Spring is in the air. Literally. From weeds to spores to grass and tree pollens, the warm weather is almost here, driving airborne allergen levels through the roof. That means your allergy symptoms — the sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes — are in overdrive and apt to stay that way for months.
Wherever you live, you’re likely to breathe allergy-causing pollen. But some cities have a higher sneeze factor than others, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says.
The group ranks 100 U.S. cities by pollen load, allergy medicine use, and allergy doctors. See if your town is one of the Top 10 worst “spring allergy capitals” for 2013.
Can You Escape Allergies?
Staying indoors may give you some relief from spring pollen. But be aware of indoor allergy triggers, too, such as dust mites, mold, pet dander, and cockroaches.
Keep surfaces clean. Bare floors are better than carpet. Air conditioning can lower moisture in the air to help prevent mold growth and curb dust mites.
How can I manage my allergies using over-the-counter medication?
Spring allergy relief is within your reach — on your local drugstore’s shelves. “Start by taking an over-the-counter, non-sedating antihistamine, such as generic Claritin, every morning. If your nose remains congested, add a saline nasal rinse or oral decongestant pill (if you don’t have high blood pressure). You can also take a long-acting decongestant nose spray for a few days, if necessary. If these treatments don’t clear your nasal congestion, ask your doctor about adding a corticosteroid nose spray,” says Paul Enright, MD, WebMD’s allergy expert and research professor of medicine and public health at the University of Arizona.
Other over-the-counter tools for managing your allergies are lozenges to soothe a sore throat, which can be irritated by postnasal drip from your runny nose, and antihistamine eyedrops to relieve itchy, watery eyes.
Look for antihistamine on the label when shopping for eyedrops; these treat the root of your allergy symptoms, instead of eyedrops that just relieve the redness (also known as decongestant eyedrops). If you do buy the latter, be sure you don’t use them for more than two to three days — over time you will need more and more to relieve the redness.