Seasonal allergies: Don't suffer - take action

Sneezing Season Begins    

sneezeIt's spring, and Michigan trees are releasing clouds of yellow, sticky pollen. Fine grains travel on air currents, stick to clothes and hair, land in eyes, nose, and throat.

Achoo! These tiny "invaders" cause out-sized discomfort in sensitive individuals as the body's immune system goes on the attack. A cascade of chemicals such as histamine is released, and the resulting localized inflammation leads to sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, painful sinuses.

Summer brings grass pollens, and fall promises weeds, but be assured, seasonal allergies are very treatable. Don't suffer, take action!

6 Ways to Relieve Seasonal Allergies

  1. Follow local pollen counts/forecasts and plan accordingly
weather.com has daily Allergy Tracker and Pollen Forecast
Stay inside when count is high.

  2. Be weather wise. Pollen counts run lowest after heavy rains and on chilly, soggy days. They are highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially on hot, dry, and windy days.

  3. Keep the outdoors out. Close windows; check filters. Pollen exposure can be reduced 90% with air conditioning on and windows closed according to the Cleveland Clinic.

  4. Keep it clean. Brush off pollen from clothes and pets before going inside. Better yet, change clothes, wash hands, face, hair. Wash bedding often. If we could see pollen better, we'd see that it's everywhere!

  5. Over the counter medications offer relief:

  • Non-sedating antihistamines, such as generic Claratin
  • Saline nasal rinse or a decongestant to decrease inflammation, swelling, and mucus production
  • Eye drops to relieve itchy watery eyes
  • Lozenges for scratchy throat

  6. Talk with your health care provider. 

  • Prescription-strength medications may ease your symptoms
  • New advances in immunotherapy treatments
  • For those with serious grass-pollen or ragweed allergies, the Food and Drug Administration last year approved once-daily tablets that can help sufferers build up a tolerance to those common allergens.

Meet the start of allergy season with a smart campaign!