The signs of spring are all around; flowers blooming, bees buzzing, noses sneezing, and chests wheezing. Yes indeed, spring can be a beautiful time of the year, but it’s also a peak time for seasonal allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. As many as 50 million people — about one in five — suffer from allergies. Seasonal allergies, like other allergies, develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment.
Some people simply suffer in silence. Others just start taking different over-the-counter medications without any real direction, just hoping they hit upon something that works. Both of those reactions are big NO’S when it comes to allergies. Here at American Family Care, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer! We can help you through another allergy season and we can start right now with some simple Do’s and Don’ts.
- Do know your triggers. That’s the most important piece of advice from the ACAAI. You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well. Here at American Family Care we can help you find the source of your suffering and stop it, not just treat the symptoms.
- Don’t throw open your windows at home or in your car. We know. The day is beautiful and the urge is strong. Stay smart and fight it.
- Do know what pollens you are sensitive to and check the pollen counts. It turns out that tree and grass pollen are night owls! In the spring and summer (during tree and grass pollen season) levels are highest in the evening. In the late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, levels are highest in the morning.
- Don’t go outside on warm windy days. That’s when pollen counts surge. Also, remember that rain temporarily washes pollen away, but pollen counts usually soar after a rainfall.
- Do wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask if you must go out when pollen counts are high.
- Don’t think moving to another city or state will stop your allergies. Moves are usually not successful since allergens are virtually everywhere.
- Do take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
- Do start taking your recommended medications early. Most allergists recommend starting medications to alleviate symptoms two weeks before they are expected to begin.
Pinpointing your allergy triggers has never been easier. A simple, single blood draw in our labs can provide you and your doctor with all the information you need to develop an effective treatment plan. Immunotherapy is one of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies. These injections, sometimes referred to as allergy shots, expose you to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting to it.
You don’t have to wait until you’re miserable this allergy season. Your local American Family Care offers easy assistance and convenient hours for all the members of your family. Before you let the sneezes, sniffles, and congestion turn into something more serious, visit us so you can begin to look forward to spring, instead of dreading it.