Ready or not, allergy season is here. Many report that their allergy symptoms have come on earlier this year, which is due in part to weather throughout the rest of the year. Climbing temperatures across the globe have led to a milder winter for many, which can have a surprising effect on your allergies.
How Weather Affects Allergies
“Milder winters are continuing to affect spring allergies. Trees are able to pollinate earlier and for longer periods, extending the allergy season by several weeks,” explained Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The first spring allergen is typically tree pollen, which begins end of February/early March and continues through the end of June. Then grass pollen begins in the late spring/early summer, and weed pollen comes around in the fall. The month of May tends to be worst for allergy sufferers as grass pollen peaks while tree pollen counts are also high.
Preventing Pollen Exposure
There are a few ways to prevent allergy symptoms. The best way is to avoid triggering allergens completely. While this is not always feasible, there are ways to help limit exposure.
- Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
- Install air filters in your home, such as high-efficiency particulate absorbance (HEPA) filters.
- Dust and vacuum regularly.
- Wash bedding in hot water. Use a dryer or hang dry indoors.
- Change clothes and shower when you come inside after outdoor activities.
- Get rid of triggering houseplants.
Many people find allergy relief with the use of over-the-counter allergy solutions. Antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, hydrocortisone creams and anti-itch eye drops can all help provide relief. Starting a daily antihistamine and nasal steroid before allergy season begins is the recommended first course of treatment for allergy sufferers.
“Certain pollens, such as grass and ragweed pollen, can be treated with oral medications, but allergy shots are more effective for tree pollen,” explained Stacey Galowitz, D.O. and board-certified allergist at ENT & Allergy Associates of Somerset.
Allergy shots are a long-term solution that help the body build up a tolerance to certain allergens over time. They are administered in an allergist’s office and require three to five years of commitment.
To learn more about allergy solutions or to get an allergy test, call ENT of Georgia today!