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Taming Spring Allergies

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If you start sneezing or coughing at the first signs of spring, you may have seasonal allergies. Depending on where you live, spring allergies can begin as early as February and last until the start of summer. Here’s what you can do to combat these allergies and make it through the season.

Spot the signs. Symptoms of spring allergies can vary from person to person. They can include coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, or a sore throat.

Know the culprits. Most spring allergies are caused by tree pollen. If your allergies continue through late spring into the summer, you may also be allergic to grass or weed pollen. It’s common for people to be allergic to more than one substance.

See a specialist. If your allergies are severe, your doctor or an allergist can help you determine what’s causing your allergies and learn how to control symptoms.

Take medication. Several types of over-the-counter medicines offer allergy relief. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe a nasal spray or eye drops.

Start treatment early. If you know you have spring allergies, start taking medicine two weeks before your symptoms typically begin.

Consider allergy shots. Another treatment option is allergy shots, or immunotherapy. These shots expose you to small amounts of the allergen over time, slowly reducing your symptoms.

Check pollen counts. This information is available in your local newspaper or on radio or television weather reports. Tree and grass pollens—spring allergy culprits—are usually at their highest levels in the evening.

Beware of dry, hot, windy days. This type of weather makes pollen counts soar.

Keep pollen out of your home and car. Keep windows and doors shut, and turn on the air conditioner.

Keep allergens off yourself. During times of high pollen counts, change your clothes and wash your hair after spending time outside. And wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when mowing or doing outside chores.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.