For the millions of people who experience seasonal allergies - 7.8 percent of the adult population, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology - each new season means a different set of challenges. Winter brings issues with indoor air particles. Spring arrives in March, and bothersome allergens return in full force, according to Everyday Health. But whether it's springtime or the dead of winter, there are steps you can take to prevent allergies from ruining your day and controlling your life. Here are some handy tips for managing allergies this spring season:
"March means the arrival of spring and a new set of allergens."
Determine you actually have allergies
For some people, the dawn of spring immediately means congested sinuses and plenty of wheezing and coughing. While it's easy to assume you have allergies, Everyday Health noted that many people confuse this condition with a simple cold or other virus. If your symptoms last more than two weeks, then allergies are the likely explanation. If the accompanying drainage or mucus is clear and thin and not thick or filled with phlegm, it's time to start treating for allergies. An accompanying fever or muscle aches, meanwhile, are tell-tale signs of a (fortunately temporary) cold.
Keep track of pollen
Just because it's spring doesn't mean you'll spend the entire season coughing and sneezing. Rather, as the Mayo Clinic explained, your symptoms will flare up to coincide with rises in the pollen count. As such, it's important that you know when pollen counts are expected to rise, which you can find out from the handy information on Pollen.com. This website lets you track pollen by zip code and on a three-day cycle. Once you know the pollen count is set to increase, start taking medications beforehand to prepare your body. At night, keep all your doors and windows shut to regulate internal pollen levels.
Avoid the usual suspects
The AAAAI suggested that you undergo an allergen panel to see what triggers your symptoms before the start of every season. That's because allergies can change dramatically over the course of your lifetime, often being more severe in childhood and waning as you enter adulthood, as The Washington Post reported. However, there are a number of culprits to blame for spring allergies, per the AAAAI . In addition to mold, that list includes tree pollen from specimens like the walnut, birch, sycamore, Western red cedar, oak and cypress trees.
"Antioxidants can control lung function in adults and children."
Change up your diet
Like so many other ailments and medical conditions, the right diet can have a huge effect on your overall health. When it comes to battling allergies, Reader's Digest said that more people should increase their intake of antioxidants. There are several studies to back up these claims. A 2014 review from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology noted that antioxidants can help control lung function in adults and children. A 2012 study in Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research found that vitamin C reduced hay fever symptoms in school children. Antioxidants can be found in foods like grapes, onions, lean meat, whole grains, milk, broccoli, spinach, tea, legumes, dark chocolate, and spices like thyme and oregano.
Seek out medical help
No one wants to have to spend the early, sun-soaked days of spring dealing with sinus headaches or seemingly endless sneezing and coughing. If you suffer from an allergic attack any time this season, you should head to your nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. With a crack team of physicians at locations across the East Coast, CareWell can help you understand the cause of your allergies and treat any of these painful or bothersome effects.