While springtime in Idaho (and many other places) is abundantly beautiful, your itchy eyes and scratchy throat beg to differ. Along with nature’s emerging beauty often comes severe allergic reactions that might make you wish for snow again.
Allergies can be very irritating, but you can keep your symptoms under control by following these simple tips from Dr. Baker.
Is this really an allergy?
Let’s determine if you are experiencing a seasonal allergy or a cold or flu virus. Your first clue is whether the symptoms are occurring around the same time every year (typically spring). If the answer is yes, check if you have any of these common allergy symptoms:
- Congestion that lasts for a couple of weeks
- Itchy nose, eyes, or roof of the mouth
- Above symptoms worsen when you go outside
- No body aches or pains (body aches may indicate you have the flu)
What causes allergies?
Say hello to histamines. Histamines are part of your body’s defense system and are meant to protect you. However, a histamine overreaction causes the symptoms you know as allergies, including stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and swelling of the breathing passages. No, your body is not turning on you! It is just trying to get rid of foreign elements, such as pollen, that your body thinks is harmful for you.
How do I put a stop to these allergies?
To reduce a histamine overreaction, Dr. Baker recommends the following:
1. Jog or exercise early in the morning or after sunset
Pollen is the most potent at dawn and dusk. So embrace the daylight hours for your workout before summer comes and heats things up!
2. Take antihistamines and decongestants
Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines will help treat the sniffles and itching, and decongestants will relieve your stuffy nose. Some medication will make you sleepy and some will not, so make sure to check the packaging for more information.
Are OTC medications not working for you? Dr. Baker can prescribe stronger, more long-acting medications for you, including nasal corticosteroids and immunotherapy. It is best to get these kinds of prescriptions before the pollen strikes, as corticosteroids might take a few days to work. Also, know that you may need more than one type of medication to effectively suppress the allergens.
3. Pass the salt, please!
Looking for a more natural treatment for allergies? Saltwater nasal sprays help to clear the allergens, as saline moisturizes dry nasal passages and reduces inflammation. Neti pots, which rinse out your nasal passages, are also an excellent tool for distributing saline. If your throat feels scratchy, try gargling with salt water.
4. Get out the vacuum cleaner
Inside the house, HEPA filters and microfiber dust cloths are your best friend. Your home doesn’t know whether it’s spring or summer, so indoor allergens can be present year-round. Keep your home clean and dust-free, and remember to close your windows to prevent pollen from coming in.
5. Visit Dr. Baker for testing and allergy shots
In order to truly identify and treat the cause of your allergies, you may want to look into allergy shots (immunotherapy). Dr. Baker’s specialized testing identifies the type of allergies you are experiencing and, paired with immunotherapy, can help reduce your body’s reaction to allergens over time.
Turn Off Your Overworked Defense System with Proper Medication
The most effective way to fight seasonal allergies is to figure out the root cause and treat it. Dr. Baker and his team will perform the necessary testing and offer treatment options to stop spring allergy symptoms before they begin. Treatment will also help your immune system build the necessary antibodies to ward off future symptoms. This approach does not have to be your last resort! Many patients reach out for treatment early in the year or set up annual treatment plans in order to preemptively manage their allergies before spring arrives.
For more information about how we can help you treat spring allergies, please visit https://www.idahofallsent.com.