The blossoming flowers and budding leaves are amazing to watch, but can also trigger allergies.

If you or a loved one experiences allergies, here are some of my favorite recommendations on what can be done to help – a guide to allergy care for you and your family.

How to Prevent Symptoms: Avoid Triggers

Your first step towards feeling better on a daily basis is avoiding the things that cause your allergic reactions in the first place.

TIPS TO AVOID ALLERGENS:

– Keep doors and windows closed on high-pollen days

– Replace wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood or other flooring

– Avoid using fireplaces and smoking inside

– Wash bedsheets weekly in hot water and keep pets out of the bed

– Consider a HEPA filter to clean the air

– Stay indoors or wear a face mask if you need to go outside during peak allergy days

How to Prevent Allergies in the First Place: Early Exposure

If your child is 6-12 months old, exposing him or her to allergens can be very helpful protection against developing allergies later.

TIPS FOR EARLY ALLERGEN EXPOSURE:
– Take your little one to a farm

– Let her play with pets, dig in the dirt, roll around in the grass

– Let him try allergenic foods

– Feed them whole fruits and vegetables

– I would NOT recommend doing these when a child is on antibiotics or has a GI illness

I suspect these tips work due to a link with the microbiome. A more diverse gut microbiome is associated with less sickness and fewer allergic responses.

How to Treat Symptoms Once You Have Them

If you are still experiencing symptoms despite your efforts to avoid allergens, you might explore treatment options. Remember to read product labels and know the side effects.

UNDERSTANDING MEDICATIONS:
– Antihistamines are widely used to counter the effects of histamine released during an allergic reaction (such as itching)

– Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion by constricting blood vessels and reducing swelling

– Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory and can help with itching and swelling

– Epinephrine is used for emergency treatment of potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions

– An alternative to medications is immunotherapy, or “allergy shots” that can help build up a tolerance for the offending allergen(s).

Did You Know? Fast Facts About Allergies

– More than 1/3 of Americans have allergies.

– Food allergies are fairly uncommon. Less than 5% of the US population has a true food allergy.

– Most people who think they have a food allergy actually have a food intolerance.

– People who get allergic symptoms in the winter may be allergic to mold spores, which may be indoors year-round.

– More than 32 million Americans have chronic sinusitis, making it one of the most common chronic health conditions in the US.

Wishing you ease and strength in this year’s allergy season. I hope you’ve found this information helpful.

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Alexandra Carmichael DrGreene.com contributor

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