Spring is finally here! But why does a weather change bring an assault of allergies that has many of us running to the doctor and pharmacy? The weather actually has a big effect on allergies and brings new triggers that lead to increases in symptoms. For most people, spring is the worst time with all the new pollens and plants emerging, but this may be different for each of us. To help you stay ahead of the allergy preparedness game, it’s important to make connections between your symptoms and the season and then find options that can help make a difference. Here are some common allergy triggers for weather or seasons:
- Spring- Tree pollens and blooming plants
- Summer- Grass pollens and weeds
- Fall- Ragweed
- Winter- Indoor allergens- pet dander, dust mites
- Dry, Windy- Pollen increases in the air
- Rainy, Humidity- Mold grows and dust mites flourish
- Heat- Air pollution
- Cold- Coughing and asthma symptoms intensify
Start taking note of the weather and seasons that may be YOUR trigger for allergies and then try the following to better prepare for YOUR allergy season with these tips:
- Watch the weather. Check local pollen and mold counts, and pollution warnings. Spend less time outside when you’re likely to have problems.
- Prepare Ahead. If you have the same allergy at the same time every year, then talk to your doctor about taking allergy medications about 2 weeks before you usually start symptoms.
- Control your environment. Keep your windows closed. Use air conditioning to filter out mold and pollen or a dehumidifier to ward off mold growth and dust mites to make your home a more welcome refuge.
- Get the right diagnosis. Don’t just guess what’s causing your allergies. See your doctor to have an allergy test. You can also discuss further treatment options and medications to control your symptoms all year.
Once you know your allergy triggers, it’s time to do something about it! Head to your doctor and or the pharmacy for some relief options. This can be a pretty overwhelming step when you’re standing in the pharmacy allergy aisle feeling tired, sneezy, itchy and lost in a sea of medication options. Our providers recommend starting with the two most common allergy medication options- antihistamines and decongestants.
Antihistamines fight chemicals called histamines that enter our body when we come into contact with allergy triggers- pollens, dust mites, pet dander, ragweed. These histamines cause our nose to swell, eyes water, sneezing, itchiness and hives. Antihistamines are medications that help reduce or block these histamine chemicals and will reduce our allergy symptoms. They come in several different prescription and over-the-counter forms from tablets or liquids to nasal sprays and eye drops. Like all medications, they may have side effects to consider including drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea.
Antihistamines work very well for most types of allergies, but may not relieve every symptom. For those that also suffer from annoying and painful nasal congestion with allergies, then adding a decongestant will help by shrinking swollen nasal tissue. Common decongestant side effects include trouble sleeping or feeling jittery.
There are also many medicine options that combine antihistamines AND decongestants. They often have a “+D” or “Plus” in the name, such as Claritin-D or Benadryl Allergy Plus. Be sure to check the ingredient label so you don’t double up on too much; and always review the list of medication interactions to be safe. Getting a combination of antihistamines and decongestants will generally help most people get through a rough allergy season. If you still have questions or can’t get relief, then let your doctor and pharmacist be your guide for the safest and best options to get you through YOUR allergy season!
For an appointment to help with your allergies, please call the Power County Family Clinic at 208-226-1057 or Aberdeen Family Clinic at 208-226-1058.