If you are susceptible, it’s time to tackle the seasonal allergies now that spring is here in Phoenix, Arizona. When the seasons shift, there is a rise in pollen and mold in the atmosphere, which means a lot of people like you are reaching for the tissues.

Every year about 50 million Americans deal with seasonal allergies, and recent research indicates that these rates are rising, affecting as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children.

If you are still dreading the return of sneezing, sniffling, stuffiness, and itchy, watery or dry eyes, take the steps below to avoid allergy symptoms from stimulating your immune system.

Spring-clean your house

Though pollen is undoubtedly a primary allergy trigger in the spring, dust and even mold accumulated over the winter in your home can intensify your symptoms if you’re already suffering from pollen.

Focus on areas inside your home where allergens appear to accumulate when spring cleaning— air filters, bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpeting: regularly clean walls, chairs, rugs. And replace your HEPA according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Here are some other things to try:

• After getting home, change your clothes. Pollen sticks to the fabric, and you could end up spreading pollen spores all over your room. (For the same reason, stop hanging laundry outside to dry.)
• Shower before bedtime. Transferring allergens into your pillow from your hair or face will make matters worse.
• Check the air conditioning unit filters regularly, and use a high-efficiency filter.

Prepare your medicine cabinet.

Many drugs are invaluable during allergy seasons, such as antihistamines, decongestants, steroidal nasal sprays, and eye drops. Both of these drugs can be used to alleviate symptoms together or separately.

Antihistamines suppress allergic reactions in your body. Antihistamines can be purchased over the counter. Nevertheless, a word of caution— some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so be sure that you know how the drug affects you before you operate any heavy machinery, such as driving your car.

Decongestants break up the pressure and the mucus you often get with allergic reactions. You can purchase standard-strength decongestants over the counter, but more potent decongestants such as pseudoephedrine can only be sold at a pharmacy. Remember, you shouldn’t use decongestants at a time for more than three days without talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

Steroidal nasal sprays will reduce the effects of nasal inflammation and allergy. Some of the nasal allergy sprays are distributed over the counter and are generally used one or two times a day. Nasal steroid sprays are not the same as nasal decongestant sprays, because they can be used longer than decongestants. Antihistamine nasal sprays are also available, but these require a doctor’s prescription.

Eye drops can help to alleviate itchy and watery eyes. Make sure you remove lenses from your contacts before you use them. Some drops are available over the counter, and others need your doctor’s prescription.

See an allergist

Do not wait for signs of the allergy to make you miserable until you visit the allergist. You should start treatment before pollen peaks early in the season, and as you know, spring starts early here in Phoenix.

Once pollen levels grow, you should see an allergy or sinus doctor, even if prior treatment attempts weren’t successful. Newer therapies and combinations come out every year that could be the key to helping you conquer your allergies this season.

Regularly monitor local allergen levels

Websites like pollen.com or The Weather Channel can tell you what the amount of pollen is in your area. Do not exercise outdoors or do yard work on days when the pollen count is exceptionally high.

As you can see, planning for the season in advance is best for all sufferers of allergies. The more prepared you are for the inevitable, the better you will feel as soon as the pollen and mold counts start skyrocketing. So please take advantage of this advice and make the most of the beautiful Arizona springtime weather as much as you can.

We care about your health here at Enticare. If you need treatment for signs of allergies, please make an appointment with one of our physicians.

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