Springtime is one of the most beautiful times of year throughout the United States, but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you have 50 million friends who are trying to avoid going outside. No matter where you live, airborne allergens are everywhere, especially during the spring, when trees are in bloom and grass is growing.
Common Springtime Pollens*
Here’s a quick-list of pollens that are flying high this time of year depending where you live:
- Midwest: grass (brome), trees (elder, elm, maple)
- Northeast: grass (orchard, redtop), trees (birch, oak, pine)
- Southeast: trees (cedar, oak, pecan), grass (Bermuda)
- Southwest: trees (cedar, elm, oak), grass (redtop)
- West: grass (sweet vernal), trees (cedar, rye, walnut), weeds (iodine bush, pigweed)
One of the best ways to handle allergies is to get out ahead of them so that you can prevent symptoms from ruining your springtime fun-time. If you know which pollens bother you, then you can find out when they’re active in your area. This gives you time to take precautions (possibly including a first-or second generation over-the-counter antihistamine) that help stop hay fever symptoms from flaring up. Common reactions include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, watery, or itchy eyes
- Cough (often from postnasal drip)
- Scratchy throat or roof of the mouth
- Itchy skin
So how do you find out the seasonal pollens to which you’re allergic? Try keeping track of the local pollen count (which is different from a pollen forecast). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s National Allergy Bureau (NAB) maintains accurate pollen and mold counts throughout the country.
If you’re not sure whether you have allergies, the NAB site can help you determine what may be bothering you. When you start to experience symptoms, check which allergens are consistently listed. Pollen.com even offers a convenient allergy diary to help you track allergens.
Here are a few easy tips to help keep allergies from sidelining you this spring:
- Stay inside in the morning. The pollen count is typically highest between 5 AM and 10 AM.
- Avoid going outside on days that are windy, warm, and dry. Warm and dry conditions help pollen thrive; wind carries pollen through the air (on calm days the pollen settles to the ground).
- Take off shoes and outer wear as soon as you hit the door. Pollen collects on clothing and you don’t want to track it through your house. Stow boots and shoes, jackets and coats, hats, and umbrellas as close to the door as possible. Even better, wash or rinse them off when you can.
- Change bedding and filters often. Most of the dust in our homes comes from our skin (yuck!). To help fight those allergens, make a habit of changing your bedding weekly. You’ll also want to change household air filters more often during allergy season. And don’t forget the cabin air filter in your car (it’s usually behind the glove box and can be replaced quickly during an oil change).
- Learn what not to eat. Some foods can make allergic reactions worse. Once you know what you’re allergic to, you can find out which foods to avoid when those allergen levels are high.
Finally, trust Teladoc to help get you through allergy season. Our certified physicians can help diagnose and recommend treatments for seasonal allergies, upper respiratory infections (which can happen if allergies get out of hand), and other non-emergency conditions. When medically necessary, they can also send prescriptions to the pharmacy you choose through our convenient app. Connect with Teladoc 24/7 anywhere in the U.S.
*Source: Nasonex Nasal Allergy Resource Center, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
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