How to Allergy-Proof your home

FRESNO, Calif.

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Preparing for Spring: Seven Tips For Surviving the Allergy Season

FRESNO, CA - Most people can hardly wait for the arrival of spring, following the cough, cold and flu season, cold weather, and being cooped up indoors. But along with the warm weather come the pollens and molds that plague those of us with seasonal allergies. Before they can fully enjoy the spring and summer weather, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes zero in to spoil the fun.

Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, affects an estimated 40 million Americans and causes symptoms of sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and a burning or itchy sensation in the throat or palate. Spring allergies are most commonly caused by tree and grass pollens, and depend on where an allergic individual lives and the time of year that pollination occurs. It's always difficult to predict when the season will hit, but known sufferers should be ready.

What can allergy sufferers do to prepare for outdoor allergy season? Here are seven tips from Dr. A.M. Aminian, Medical Director of the Allergy Institute:

1. Visit your Allergist. Talk to your Allergist about starting your allergy medications before the pollens and molds get underway, sometimes as early as February. Non-drowsy antihistamines are preferred. Prescription nasal sprays (nasal steroids) have become key players in managing nasal allergies. They should also be started one to two weeks before your pollen season begins.

2. Keep windows and doors shut at home. Your screens will not keep out those tiny pollens and molds that may find their way to your eyes and nose even while inside the house. Consider running the air conditioning earlier in the year if it gets stuffy.

3. Keep the car windows up. When in your car, keep your windows up. If you can adjust your vent to re-circulate inter-compartment air, do it! Sorry, this also means keeping the sunroof closed.

4. Time outdoor activities properly. Try to avoid outdoor activities in the early and mid-morning hours. Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning.

5. Take your antihistamines. If yard work is unavoidable, take your antihistamine at least two hours before going out if it is a once or twice daily pill. Consider wearing a dust mask and glasses while working. Remove your clothing and take a shower immediately after coming back into the house.

6. Know your allergens. If you have some allergy symptoms during winter months you are probably allergic to dust mites, pets, or mold spores. Indoor environmental controls may help you during the outdoor allergy season by reducing your response to these indoor triggers over night. Sometimes indoor triggers are more of a problem when the outdoor allergens pick up (a process called priming).

7. Wash inside your nose. Keep some nasal saline around to rinse out your nasal passages two or three times a day when allergy symptoms are more active. Many people have discovered that sinus drainage and congestion is greatly reduced by once or twice daily nasal saline rinses.

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