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'Tis the Season for Allergies

Does this make you want to sneeze? You're not alone, There are 35 million Americans who are allergic to tree, flower and weed pollen. (Photo courtesy of Flickr user Nan Palermo)
May 23, 2014

For most people, the arrival of spring is a breath of fresh air after a long winter. The forsythia, lilacs and crab apple trees are blooming, the grass is green, and the evergreens are budding.

But for the 35 million Americans who are allergic to tree, grass and weed pollen and mold, it means a season of suffering from sneezing, coughing, congestion, itchy eyes and a runny nose.

Tips and tricks to reduce your symptoms from St. Luke’s Health Library:

  • Stay inside when pollen levels are high. Watch local weather reports for pollen counts in your area.
  • Save your outdoor fun, and your yard work, for damp, still, and cloudy days when the wind won't blow spores and the moisture will keep them weighed down.
  • Mow your grass often. If possible, have a family member or friend do it for you. If this is not possible, wear a pollen or dust mask while you mow.
  • Keep windows and doors closed, both during the day and at night. Use air conditioning to help lower the amount of pollen that gets inside your house. Do not use a fan with an open window, as this can bring more pollen into your home.
Did you know that you could install special allergy filters on your air conditioning unit? Doing so will help your indoor environment feel much more comfortable.
  • Keep clean. Washing all of your clothes and showering after any exposure to pollen and mold spores will help to minimize allergy symptoms.
  • Take your vacation during the peak of the pollen season to a place where the plants you are allergic to don't grow.
Treatment for seasonal allergies:

There are many over-the-counter medicines available like Zytec, Allegra, and Claritin that can work well for some people. However, if you are taking these daily and still have severe symptoms you should talk to your doctor about the best way to treat your allergies.

Did you know you can reduce your allergy triggers by making smart choices in your yard and garden? Check out WebMD for a list of the best and worst flowers and plants for allergy sufferers.