Love springtime in the Pacific Northwest but dread allergies? You are not alone. Many of our patients suffer from seasonal allergies and ask our practitioners for relief tips. If you are searching for techniques to stop allergies from affecting your life, read on for tips from our Portland primary care team.
What Do Spring Allergies Feel Like?
If you are one of the 50 million Americans dealing with allergies, you know the tale-tell signs all too well. Common symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. However, some patients experience severe reactions to pollen like coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks. Many also wonder if what they’re experiencing is caused by seasonal allergies or COVID-19. While some symptoms can be similar, like congestion and a runny nose, there are very clear differences between COVID-19 and seasonal allergy symptoms. Whether you feel mild or serious symptoms, allergies can put a damper on springtime fun. With a little more information on how allergies work and how to get relief, you’ll be able to get back into the swing of spring activities.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is an upper respiratory irritation triggered by pollen from blooming flora. Once exposed to the pollen, your immune system releases antibodies and the chemical histamine. It is the histamine response that causes all the classic allergy symptoms.
7 Tips for Coping with Spring Allergies
Allergy sufferers know how difficult relief can be, especially during a high pollen count year. Luckily, there are some effective techniques you can employ to lessen your allergic reactions.
1. Consider allergy medication
Talk with your NWPC health care provider about allergy medication options and when to start taking them. Many allergy sufferers start their medications prior to the season to ensure they have a build-up of allergy-fighting pharmaceuticals in their system before the pollen count starts rising. However, your physician can work with you to find the best medication and the ideal start window.
2. Check daily pollen counts
Since pollen is the most common culprit of allergies, monitor pollen counts regularly. When the count is high, try to avoid extended periods outside. If you have to spend time outdoors, wearing sunglasses can prevent pollen from getting into your eyes. Filtered masks can also stop allergens from entering your respiratory system.
3. Keep your windows closed
There is nothing like a calm spring breeze through an open window. However, wind can carry microscopic amounts of pollen into your home, causing an allergic reaction. During peak pollen times, shut your windows. If possible, use an air conditioner, instead of a fan, to cool off.
4. Change up your diet
Did you know certain foods have a positive effect on allergy reduction? Fruit rich in vitamin-C, anti-inflammatories, and fish high in omega-3s have all shown to be beneficial. Here are a few ingredients to try come spring:
- Citrus fruits
5. Leave your shoes at the door
It surprises many of our patients to find out that pollen can sneak into homes on the bottoms of shoes. To prevent pollen from getting tracked through your house, remove your shoes as soon as you come inside. You can also wipe the soles with a damp cloth to be extra safe.
6. Wash your hair
Allergy causing elements can trap themselves in your hair while you are outside. To get rid of the pollen clinging to your locks, take a shower and thoroughly wash your hair. Another trick is to tuck your hair up in a cap when you leave and remove once you’re home.
7. Invest in a HEPA air filter
We all do our best to keep pollen out of our homes, but those tiny particles can still find a way in. Plus, pet hair, dust, mold, and mildew inside your house can also trigger an allergy attack. Installing a high-quality HEPA air-filter can reduce the amount of allergens circulating through your residence.
Take Control of Your Spring Allergies with NWPC
Don’t suffer your way through another spring. Let our practitioners assist you in combating seasonal allergies. Whether you are looking for prescription options or to understand your unique reaction to pollen, we are here to help! Contact us today to make an appointment at one of our Portland, Oregon clinics or schedule a virtual visit.