If you notice yourself to be congested and/or sneezing a lot more than you normally would, there’s likely one culprit that is responsible: The spring season! While we’re just one month into the new season, it’s right around this time of year when those pesky symptoms start to creep up; and while spring-related allergies are usually only a temporary thing, that’s not to say that they aren’t at all problematic, or, sometimes, downright disruptive, as these particular types of allergies can get in the way of doing something as simple as being able to enjoy spending time outdoors – especially with our weather as nice as it has been here in the Lower Mainland lately.
The good news is that, as mentioned, springtime allergies don’t have to last forever – and there are certain things that you can do to either prevent or help decrease the severity of the symptoms you might experience.
1. Limit how much time you spend outside. While this might not seem ideal, if you suffer from severe springtime allergies then you should consider reducing the amount of time that you spend outdoors. If you are going to go outside, it’s important to note that pollen counts tend to be at their highest around noon – particularly on days that are hot, dry, or windy – so if you are going to be spending quite a bit of time outdoors then it’s suggested you limit your time outside between – or, spend your time outside in the early morning or late evening instead. That being said, pollen count will never be at zero, so still be cautious about being outdoors no matter what time of day it is.
2. Protect yourself with a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses. While this tip might sound like something you only need to do if you’re going to be exposed to sunlight, wearing a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also protect your hair and eyes from exposure to pollen. For example, without sunglasses, pollen can get into the eyes much more easily; while without a hat, pollen can stick to the hair which can rub off on your pillow at night – and can still cause irritation and an allergic response to you that way.
3. Change clothing. After being outside, and if you know you suffer from allergies, then you may want to consider changing your clothes and putting what you wore outside into a laundry hamper. Just like pollen can stick to your hair, it can also stick to your clothes, and this will then cause it to spread throughout your home, making your symptoms persist.
4. Reduce your activity level. Staying fit and exercising regularly is something we all need to do in order to stay as healthy as possible. However, on days where the pollen or and/or pollution levels are particularly high, it’s recommended that you decrease the intensity of your workouts. This is because the more intense your workout is, the faster you breathe – and the faster you breathe, more allergens you will ultimately inhale. Examples of some allergy-friendly, lower-intensity workouts include things like weight training or yoga. It is also suggested that you exercise indoors, as opposed to outdoors, on days where pollen levels are high.
5. Try medication. As much as we may not necessarily like the idea of taking medications, there are instances where we need it and won’t have a choice; and if you’ve tried all of the aforementioned tips mentioned above with now real decrease or difference in the severity of your allergies, then this is one of those times. Nowadays, you can find many different (and affordable) products designed to help you with allergic-related symptoms, such as nasal sprays, as well as oral medications. If, after trying these OTC products and you’re still noticing no change in your symptoms, then your doctor may be able to prescribe you something stronger. In some cases, your physician may also refer you to an allergist, as they can test for specific things you might be allergic to and also offer you other methods of treatment.