Did you know that more than 40 million people in the U.S. have seasonal allergies? Some of the most common allergies include trees, grass, mold and cat or dog animal dander.
With the official arrival of spring comes the advent of blooming flowers, freshly cut grass and more time spent outdoors. For many, this may sound like a welcomed change from the winter weather but, for those with allergies, they bring visions of red, itchy eyes and general discomfort.
While there is no way to eliminate any allergies you may have, there are effective ways to manage eye allergies in spring so you can enjoy the season to the fullest!
1. Check pollen reports
On days where you have the flexibility to choose, it can be worthwhile to look into pollen reports before planning any outdoor activities. When pollen counts are high, try to reschedule your outdoor time for other days and focus on indoor tasks. To help keep an eye on pollen levels, there are a number of apps that can be downloaded onto any smartphone to receive regular updates about pollen levels.
2. Use face masks
For those days when pollen counts are high but you can’t avoid spending time outdoors, you can buy a simple, disposable paper mask to filter out the pollens before you inhale the air. Depending on the severity of your allergies, there are basic masks or higher quality ones with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
3. Invest in a HEPA filter
Despite the efforts you may make to keep allergens outside, approximately 30% will still enter your home through the air or on your body. Instead of keeping all windows and doors closed in an attempt to keep these allergens out, purchasing a HEPA filter in the form of a face mask, vacuum cleaner or furnace filter can help prevent the circulation of allergens through your home.
4. Find OTC allergy medications
When it comes to over the counter medications, there are topical nasal sprays, inhaled/oral antihistamines and decongestants. With mild seasonal allergies, being proactive about taking these medications before exposing yourself to the allergens can be enough to fighting off your symptoms. Remember: antihistamines can lose some of their effectiveness over a few months so consider switching brands periodically to make sure you are getting the greatest relief.
5. See an allergist or your ophthalmologist
If your only symptoms are red irritated eyes, a trip to your ophthalmologist is necessary. If your symptoms are more systemic, and over the counter medications aren’t doing the trick, a visit to an allergist can help bring major relief. Through skin tests and exposure to a minimal amount of common allergens, allergists can determine exactly what you are allergic to. Depending on the severity of your allergies, they can prescribe medications including nasal and eye drop forms of antihistamines as well as leukotriene modifiers, which work as great anti-inflammatory agents to provide eye allergy relief.
Suffering through the symptoms of eye allergies can make springtime a miserable period for many people. Whether you prepare by purchasing a HEPA filter or seeing an allergist for a prescription medication, you have control over how you decide to fight your allergies. By developing and sticking to a plan, you can enjoy spring to the fullest.
Do you suffer from allergies? Share some of the ways you manage your symptoms in the comment section below!