Spring Forward, Allergies Back

Nip Painful Symptoms in the Bud

By Jennifer Dumke | Sioux Falls Woman

MENT-girl-outside-38974746 mThe sounds of chirping birds, wind blowing through budding trees and drops of fresh rain hitting sprouting blooms are all wonders of the spring season. But what about the sounds of sneezing and sniffling? Spring allergies affect more than 50 million Americans each year. The catalyst of warmer temperatures causes intense sinus pain that may last weeks or even months. Avoid missing out on the joys of spring by knowing what triggers symptoms and how to identify allergens.  

Take Action Early
It’s recommended to get ahead of painful allergies by taking proper allergy medication before they arise. Note when you typically feel the onset of symptoms and kick-start your spring allergy relief plan weeks in advance by using a variety of treatments such as over-the-counter medications and even allergy shots – which have been known to modify and prevent disease progression.

Weather or Not
April showers bring more flowers… and triggers. While enjoyed by many for its refreshing aromas, hearing the pitter-patter of spring rainfall may cause allergy sufferers to seek shelter. Rain is known for its power to provide plants with the necessary moisture and nutrients to grow. But it’s these same colorful plants and trees that also produce allergens. Daniel Todd, MD, with Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat has been treating allergies for over 20 years and shares his expertise on seasonal allergies. “Spring brings with it the emergence of airborne pollens which can be an aggravation. Typically tree pollens begin, followed by grasses and weeds,” he adds. Paired with wind that can stir up mold in the air and what you have is the perfect forecast for painful symptoms.

Get a head start on the season by undergoing a simple allergy test to identify which pollens trigger a reaction. ”You don’t stand a chance in being proactive with your allergy control if you don’t know what you are allergic to, so testing is paramount,” he adds.  “Pollen counts can vary with temperature and wind, so patients should plan accordingly,” says Dr. Todd. He suggests visiting websites such as www.pollen.com for a listing of levels. For those who choose to not undergo testing, it’s advised to avoid exposure during the evening when levels are typically at their highest.

Interior Motives
Could your own home be causing you unnecessary sinus pain? The answer is yes. Dust mites, mold, pollen and pet hair are common threats but are also very controllable. Allergists suggest keeping windows closed, reduce dust-absorbing carpet and fabrics, keep pets out of the bedroom, wash bedding regularly in hot water and replace furnace filters frequently. “Dust covers, HEPA filters, pet selection and mold removal can actually help with our seasonal allergies,” adds Dr. Todd.

Ultimately, springtime should be enjoyed by everyone, whether battling allergies or not. Ensure you feel your best and enjoy spring activities by taking these simple factors into account.