It’s that time of the year when you can finally enjoy the sun again. Flowers and trees are blooming everywhere, and the air is fresh and crisp – not too cool, not too hot, and not too humid (yet). Unfortunately, North Florida’s beautiful April weather comes with a price… and that price is pollen. The thick sheet of yellow-green plastered on your car is a springtime rite of passage, and you might as well give up on a long-lasting carwash for the next couple of months. Not only does your car suffer during this time, but also will you if you’re among the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies.
This allergy season is turning out to be a ruthless one, with many people experiencing allergies for the first time. This could be due to an unusually sudden shift from winter to spring – it seems as if we went to sleep with temperatures below 40 degrees and woke up ready to hop in the pool. With allergy season in full swing, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Runny/itchy nose/sneezing
- Nasal/chest congestion
- Itchy/watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy sinus/ears
- Ear congestion
- Dark under eyes
- Shortness of breath
While the process of pollination is a positive for the fertilization of plants, it’s accompanied by many negatives for humans. Although there’s no cure for allergies such as these, there are a number of tips and tricks you can try to help subdue the side effects of the pollination process:
MAKE SOME CHANGES
- Keep windows and doors shut whenever possible
- Purchase an air filter for your home
- Always wear sunglasses to stop airborne allergens from coming into your eyes
- Vacuum/clean your home regularly
- Rinse yourself off after contact with outdoor objects, to remove pollen that sticks to your skin
- Over-the-counter antihistamines (such as Zyrtec, Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, Xyzal, etc.)
- Steroid Nasal sprays (prescription or over-the-counter)
- Eye drops
- Allergy shots
- Vitamin C
GET YOUR OUTDOORS FIX AT NIGHT
Pollen counts tend to be lower when the sun goes down, so if you’re committed to exercising or getting in your outdoors time, try to plan for it at night.
Springtime can be a glorious time of beauty and renewal, especially in North Florida – and you can enjoy it more fully if you take the right precautions. Use these tips to help you enjoy this special time of year.
Christine Chiu-Geers, MD is a family medicine physician with Capital Health Plan.