Spring is in season: 3 ways to manage allergies

While the spring weather certainly has many happy, there's something else coming in with the warm wind: pollen, mold and all your favorite irritants.

Indeed, while spring is certainly back in session, allergy season is about to arrive as well. This is important because 50 million Americans experience allergy symptoms each year, making it the sixth-leading chronic illness, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). 

Still, there's no reason for watery eyes, scratchy throats, hives or constant sneezing to take all the fun out of spring. There are a number of simple actions and steps affected individuals and families across the country can take to better manage and prepare for allergies.

1. Understand your allergies

To manage allergies, you must first be sure they're actually allergies. Talking to a doctor or an allergist is the only real way you can get the truth — and it's important that you do. It may be revealed, for example, that it's not really allergies but asthma or something less severe. Knowing what exactly you're allergic to can also help you get the medications and knowledge you need to tackle allergies head on.

"Talk to a doctor or a specialist to learn about allergy treatments that may be available to you."

2. Check pollen and mold counts

While you don't want to feel beholden to allergies, it may be wise to stay inside when the outdoors just aren't hospitable to your allergies. If the pollen or mold count is excessively high, or high enough to trigger symptoms and reactions on your end, reconsider taking that morning jog or if the dog could stand to be walked in another hour. There are a number of online resources that can connect you with your immediate pollen situation, including the weather from local news providers. Painters' masks are relatively inexpensive and can come in handy in a pinch if you need to get something done outdoors — like lawn work — but don't want all the annoying allergy symptoms.

3. Allergy-proof your home

Whether you or your family suffers from allergies, it's important to take all the precautions you can to protect your home. While you undertake some spring cleaning in general, set aside some time to tackle allergy-specific tasks:

  • Replace your air conditioner filters: Filters that are left to accumulate particulate buildup don't work as efficiently as clean ones. That means allergens can enter your home more easily.
  • Keep shoes away from the rest of the house: Use your foyer, anteroom or some other kind of place for cubbies to keep outside apparel. Shoes can track in any number of irritants, and keeping the rest of the house safe is a smart move.
  • Give the house a deep scrub: Focus on areas like the bathroom and kitchen, which are heavily used. 

Allergies are a widespread problem, and as irritating as symptoms may get, always remember there are steps you can take to alleviate allergies and get some relief. Talk to a doctor or a specialist today to learn more about what other avenues of treatment may be available to you.