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The arrival of spring means warmer temperatures, open doors and windows, and the start of allergy season are all on the way. Instead of putting up with weeks of sniffling, sneezing, and itching eyes, try these tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to keep your allergy symptoms under control.
• Know your allergens - Your allergen is the thing you are allergic to. It could be pollen from certain plants that bloom in the spring, or it could be something that is around year 'round. More than two-thirds of all people who think they have spring allergies actually have allergies all year. Knowing what you are allergic to can help you decide when it’s time to start treatment. An allergist can determine what your allergens are and set up a plan to help you deal with them.
• Get the best meds – There are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications available that claim to be the best thing to treat allergies. If one treatment doesn’t work, you may be tempted to just keep buying and trying new things in the hope that something will do the job. Rather than spending money randomly, consider meeting with an allergy specialist who can isolate your allergen and prescribe the best medication to treat your symptoms. In general, prescription medications are better at treating a stuffy nose and inflammation in the sinuses. Another option that can provide long-term relief is immunotherapy. This treatment involves weekly allergy shots to help your body learn not to react to your allergen.
• Take meds on time – If you wait until your nose is stuffy and you are miserable to take allergy medications, you will have an uphill battle to feel better. If you know that your allergies kick in during the spring, start taking your medication before your symptoms can get a head start. Warm weather generally means the start of allergy season when plants release pollen and molds resume growing.
• Avoid your allergens – The less you are around your allergens, the less you will have symptoms. So stay indoors during the middle of the day when pollen counts are highest.