Allergies are – at best – an annoying inconvenience. At worst, however, they can have severe consequences, affecting your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, or digestive system, making you feel miserable, and interfering with your plans and activities.
Whether you are allergic to pollen, pet dander, dust, certain foods, or other substances, getting your allergies under control is important. So, how can you keep seasonal allergy symptoms and your personal triggers at bay?
At Georgetown ENT, board-certified physician Dr. Scott W. Franklin specializes in allergic diseases and has these five fundamental suggestions designed to help allergy sufferers effectively manage their allergy symptoms:
1. Be aware of allergy seasons.
Knowing when your symptoms are more likely to flare up is the first step in minimizing your risk. Those with seasonal allergies are especially sensitive to allergies that are only present at certain times of the year. A classic example of a seasonal allergy is plant pollen – as opposed to perennial allergies that are triggered year-round by things like dust mites or pet dander.
Allergy seasons and their type of pollen are:
- Spring – tree pollen
- Summer- grass pollen
- Fall – ragweed pollen
Often, you can tell which season has the worst effect on your allergies simply by observing your symptoms. If not, you can take an allergy test to identify triggers.
2. Take steps to reduce your exposure.
Although the best way to avoid seasonal allergy symptoms caused by pollen exposure is to stay indoors, you can’t become a recluse. So, you will need to take steps to limit your exposure. Since pollen counts are generally higher in the morning
hours, keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible during that time. Other strategies include:
- Checking the daily pollen count using a weather app and planning your day accordingly
- Avoiding driving with your windows rolled down
- Wearing a mask when outdoors
- Setting your car’s air conditioning to recirculate air, rather than drawing it from outside
- Changing your clothes and showering when you come home after being outdoors for extended periods of time
3. Pre-treat your allergy symptoms.
If your allergies tend to flare up during a particular season, start using an over-the-counter nasal steroid or a daily non-drowsy antihistamine to pre-treat your symptoms. A natural, alternative remedy for allergies is a frequent saline rinse. However, make sure you mix the saline packets with sterile water.
4. Know the signs and symptoms of an allergy.
Since allergy symptoms are similar to those for an upper respiratory viral infection (e.g., the flu or a cold), you may not know which is which. Nevertheless, act fast and begin treatment if you experience:
- A runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
- Scratchy throat
- General fatigue
5. Take an antihistamine.
Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to prevent your allergy symptoms. A non-drowsy oral antihistamine can minimize them by targeting the root cause of the allergy and provide relief within a few hours, as opposed to a nasal steroid spray, which can take a few days to take effect and can become habit-forming. Nasal decongestant sprays can cause rebound congestion – an effect in which your congestion gets worse as your system becomes dependent on the spray.
Highly Experienced Allergist in Georgetown, Texas
If your allergy symptoms are severe and persist despite the aforementioned measures, don’t hesitate to see Dr. Franklin at Georgetown ENT.
Dr. Franklin completed a fellowship training program at the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), which represents board-certified otolaryngologists (ENTs) who specialize in allergic diseases, and is eminently qualified to provide allergy testing, evaluation, and treatment. Patients throughout north Austin, including Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, and Serenada, come to Georgetown ENT for help.