Longer days and warmer temperatures are ideal for getting outside and enjoying the spring weather … until allergies hit. Luckily, you can still enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about itchy eyes, a runny nose and constant sneezing by taking steps to prepare for allergy season.
Since preventing allergies is far more effective than treating them after symptoms already have hit, now is the time to start making your plan of attack. Since many treatment options can take a few weeks to build up your body’s defenses, don’t wait to start protecting yourself.
Here are seven steps you should take to prepare for allergy season.
1. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or allergist
Your doctor can help you determine the best pretreatment strategy and recommend specific medications for your individual allergy needs.
2. Consider starting an over-the-counter antihistamine
If you’re looking for an antihistamine you can take daily, make sure you settle on one that won’t cause drowsiness, like Allegra or Claritin. Your doctor can help you settle on the best option.
3. Take an over-the-counter nasal spray
A corticosteroid nasal spray can help counteract allergy symptoms and many are now available over the counter, such as Nasonex or Flonase.
4. Talk to your doctor about a prescription or long-term solutions
For those with severe allergies, your doctor may recommend a prescription antihistamine spray, stronger medication or year-round allergy shots.
5. Prepare your home
As tempting as it can be to open the windows when the weather is nice, keeping them closed is the better choice for making your home as allergen-free as possible. You also can use an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help remove allergens.
6. Change your habits
Taking off your shoes as soon as you enter your home, changing your clothes immediately after spending time outdoors and wearing a mask if you have to do yard work are all good habits to establish during allergy season.
7. Stay inside when pollen counts are high
Typically, mid-morning and early evening are the worst times of day for pollen counts. You can minimize your exposure by avoiding the outdoors during those times.
Don’t worry if it’s too late to prepare and you’re already suffering with allergy symptoms. You still should be able to manage your symptoms with nasal irrigation, over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. Just remember to think ahead for next year so you can minimize your reaction. With the help of your doctor, you can ensure you’re ready to enjoy spring to the fullest—without the itchy eyes and sneezing.