At last, spring has arrived! It's time to open the windows, pack away the winter gear, and enjoy the cool, fresh air.
Sadly, many of us also greet the spring season with a stuffy nose and watery eyes. If you've been struggling with spring allergies, here are some tips on how to cope with them.
Treat Allergies Early
Spring pollen actually starts filling the air as soon as the weather warms up enough for the trees to begin budding. So, if you take medications to control your seasonal allergies, the time to start them is a couple of weeks before the end of winter around early to mid August . By starting your medications early, you are less likely to have horrible allergy symptoms later on.
Know Your Allergy Medications
There are over-the-counter medications that you can get to help control your allergies, such as topical nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants. Ask your local pharmacist for advice on the best medication to use to help control your allergies. If these medications are not helping you or if your allergies are severe, then it's definitely best to see an allergist for an allergy test and a proper diagnosis.
Control Your Environment
If you're going outside, consider wearing a protective disposable paper mask or, if your allergies are severe, a longer-lasting 'respirator mask' with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
While it's fine to stay indoors to avoid being amongst outdoor allergens, we need to remember that allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould and pet dander exist indoors as well.
The HEPA filters in these air purifiers work well by removing 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 micrometere from the air that passes through. You can also cut down on circulating allergens by using a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner.
When you're in the car, keep the windows shut and set your ventilation to recirculate. You can also get an in-car air purifier, such as the Ionmax ION330 Air Purifier, a small desktop or car air purifier that combines a HEPA filter, negative ion generator and activated carbon filter to purify the air that you breathe.
Avoid using humidifiers as they increase the humidity in your home and can lead to problems with mould and dust mites.
If you already have an air purifier at home, be sure to check if the filters need replacing or cleaning.