Springtime in the Valley can be a beautiful thing. Moderate temperatures make us want to get outside to hike, spend time with family, or just breathe in the smell of orange blossoms. However, simply breathing during spring can be difficult for many sufferers of seasonal allergies when pollen is in full bloom.
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At Apricus Medical Group, we see many patients who misconstrue allergy symptoms for illnesses such as colds and respiratory infections. Prevention is key to experiencing seasonal allergies.
Here are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk of allergens ruining your spring:
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Take your medicine preventatively
Many patients like to prevent taking “unnecessary” medications if they can, but if you know you have seasonal allergies every spring, taking a preventative allergy medication can mean the difference between enjoying the great outdoors and being stuck inside sneezing.
Nasal steroids are an excellent treatment for allergic rhinitis symptoms, and it’s best to take them daily during allergy season before symptoms even occur. Nasal steroids such as triamcinolone, fluticasone and budesonide are available over-the-counter and can relieve congestion, runny/itchy nose, sneezing and more.
If you’re having an allergic reaction, an antihistamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can immediately begin to relieve symptoms. For daily preventative use, over-the-counter medications like loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra) can be helpful, but it may require some trial and error to see which works best for you.
Consistency is essential. Take your allergy medications until you know pollen high season has passed for optimal results. Websites like www.pollen.com provide a national allergy map to see if your area is at high risk.
Know when to stay inside
In addition to monitoring pollen counts online, reducing your outdoor exposure will prevent seasonal allergy misery.
The Valley tends to get lots of windy spring days, which can kick up the dust and pollen that trigger allergy symptoms. Stay inside on windy days, especially if you plan on spending extended amounts of time outside doing chores like mowing, weed pulling and other gardening activities. An alternative is to wear a pollen-shielding mask.
If you need to go outside, setting a fresh set of clothing near the door to change into before going inside can prevent bringing allergy triggers inside on your clothes.
Protect your indoor atmosphere
Keeping your home allergy free will provide an indoor sanctuary away from the sneezing.
Especially during the spring, high efficiency HVAC filters can help stop the circulation of allergens through your home. A portable HEPA air filter can also help filter the dust and allergens from your immediate area as you work from home or go to bed. Vacuuming regularly will also help reduce the dust and pollen that tracks throughout your home.
When the over-the-counter and preventative methods aren’t enough to keep your seasonal allergies at bay, it’s time to visit your doctor. At Apricus Health, our robust 24/7 Telehealth platform allows you to visit your physician without ever leaving your home — especially helpful during allergy season. To learn more and make an appointment, visit www.apricushealth.com/locations.
Dr. James Vogt is a primary care physician at Apricus Medical Group’s Scottsdale office, a division of Arizona-founded, physician-led Apricus Health. Vogt received his undergraduate degree form Hillsdale College in Michigan and attended medical school in North Chicago at Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine. Following medical school, he completed his residency in Appleton, Wisconsin. To learn more or book an appointment, visit www.apricushealth.com.