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How To Gear Up For Seasonal Allergies

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How To Gear Up For Seasonal Allergies

As the temperature rises and flowers bloom, many people dread the onset of seasonal allergies. Summer allergies can be a nuisance, causing any combination of sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, an itchy, irritated throat, cough, wheezing, and even fatigue. Some allergy symptoms can be so severe they’re even mistaken for an upper respiratory infection. You can prepare for seasonal allergies and minimize their impact on your daily routine in several ways.

People worldwide suffer from allergies (sometimes also known as Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis). Common triggers include pollen from trees, weeds, grasses, dust, and mold. Knowing what triggers your allergies can help you take the necessary steps to avoid or minimize exposure.

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, but the following are the most common:

  • Sneezing: Frequent and repetitive sneezing that happens in spurts, or paroxysmal sneezing, is one of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies.
  • Runny or stuffy nose: Seasonal allergies cause your nasal passages to inflame and produce excessive mucus, leading to a runny or stuffy nose and the sensation of drainage down the back of your throat.
  • Itchy or watery eyes: Your eyes may become red, itchy, dry, and/or watery - a significant annoyance for many people.
  • Sore throat: The nasal passages and throat inflammation can cause a scratchy sensation or a sore throat.
  • Coughing: Seasonal allergies may produce a cough or trigger wheezing in some individuals. Children, in particular, can be prone to wheezing.
  • Headache: Headaches and facial pressure may occur due to inflammation and mucous production in the sinus cavities. Difficulty breathing: In extreme cases, seasonal allergies may worsen asthma symptoms in asthmatic patients. Talk with your doctor to have an asthma plan in place if symptoms occur, and always seek emergent care if you have difficulty breathing.

How to Help Seasonal Allergies

If you are experiencing seasonal allergies, there are several easy measures you can take to help manage and even prevent your symptoms. Here are five tips put together by Dr. Elizabeth Looney Di with UF Health St. JohnsPrimary Care at Greenbriar to get you started:

  1. Identify your triggers: Knowing what triggers your allergies can help you avoid exacerbations or worsening of your symptoms. In the greater Jacksonville area, seasonal explosions of birch, bayberry, and elm tree pollen can happen in the spring. Check a local pollen count (i.e., via the WeatherChannel app) or look for a yellow dusting on cars and outdoor surfaces to know when allergies may get worse.
  1. Avoid Gardening Chores: Various garden activities like lawn mowing and weed pulling, especially during the spring, can increase allergen amounts in the atmosphere surrounding you. Avoid such chores during a seasonal allergy period.
  1. Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands frequently, especially after being outside or around pets, can help reduce exposure to allergens. Taking a shower after spending time outdoors can also help remove pollen and other allergens from your skin and hair.
  1. Take medications: The best treatment for seasonal allergies is prevention. If you know you suffer from allergies, get out ahead of symptoms by taking a daily non-drowsy antihistamine coupled with a nasal steroid spray. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for brand recommendations if needed. Try to avoid relying too much on decongestants, as these can cause adverse effects if used chronically.
  1. Consider immunotherapy: If allergy symptoms are severely impacting your daily life, consider discussing a referral to an allergy specialist for testing and immunotherapy or “allergy shots” with your doctor. Allergy shots involve regular injected doses of the allergen that triggers your symptoms. Over time, your body becomes less sensitive to the allergen, reducing your symptoms' severity. Allergy shots are usually given over several months or years, and they are generally safe and effective.

What Are Some Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies?

If you're looking for natural ways to manage your symptoms caused by seasonal allergies, here are some home remedies you can try:

  • Steam inhalation can help loosen mucus and relieve congestion. You can use a humidifier or take a hot shower to create steam.
  • Use a saline solution for the nasal rinse to flush out allergens and improve nasal congestion.
  • Eating honey from local bees may help build immunity to local pollen. The scientific evidence supporting this claim, however, is limited.

Need Professional Treatment?

Enjoy the outdoors despite seasonal allergies. At Flagler Health+, we offer a variety of allergy testing and treatment options designed to help you manage your symptoms and breathe easily.

Our experienced doctors are available for in-person or virtual care appointments to address colds, sinus issues, earaches, allergies, and more. Visit Flagler Health+ to book an appointment with Dr. Looney Di or to find a provider for your allergic situation and get relief.