Regardless if you are native to Kansas, or a recent resident, you may find that spring brings forth the dreaded seasonal allergies.
Some people call it hay fever, some just allergies, some people use other descriptive terms. We call it allergic rhinitis, and it can make you sneeze, congested, suffer with a runny nose, create watery eyes, drain your energy and make you miserable.
We offer 5 steps to help make your case of allergic rhinitis a little less difficult to work through.
- Reduce your exposure to your specific allergen. Dry and windy days are the worst times for most pollen, dust, spores and things that make you suffer. Wait to go out after a rain cleans the air or on still days. If you can, get the kids to mow the lawn if that is a trigger for you. If you do go out in a pollen storm, taking a shower afterwards, washing your hair and changing clothes can reduce your exposure to allergens.
- Keep your indoor air healthy. There are a few things you can do in your home that will help keep the allergens away from you. Use a good high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your air conditioning system, your vacuum cleaner, and use a humidifier with a filter. Change the filters regularly.
- Pay attention to the pollen count. Check the pollen count on TV, the radio or the Internet. If the weather forecast warns of high counts, then wear a mask outside if you can’t avoid outdoor activities. Pay attention to the type of pollen and particulates you have reactions to. Here in Kansas, we have a lot of tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, dust particulates and mold spores. You can see the allergy forecast and counts for Emporia by clicking here.
- Try home remedies. According to the Mayo Clinic, several types of nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. Antihistamines (Claritin, Alavert, Zyrtec Allergy, Allegra Allergy) can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Nasal decongestant sprays (Afrin, Neo-Synephrine) can be effective but should only be used for a few days. Many over-the-counter medications can have adverse side-affects, so you may want to talk to your family physician before taking any.
- Seek medical assistance. If you have bad seasonal allergies, your doctor may recommend that you have a series of tests to determine what allergens trigger your symptoms. Some treatments include allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy), others include injections intended to reduce the immune system reaction that causes symptoms or tablets taken orally.
The best place to start solving your allergy issue is with your family doctor. They can help diagnose and prescribe the most effective course of action.
The staff of physicians, nurses and medical professionals from Newman Regional Health Medical Partners Family Medicine, Cotton 0’Neil Emporia, and Flint Hills Family Medicine stand ready to assist you on your plan for a healthier future.
You can find more information on our Family Medicine practice by clicking here.
If you are having an acute allergy attack, or can’t get an appointment with your doctor, you may wish to consider a visit to the Newman Regional Health Express Care clinic. They are open every day including weekends.
Newman Regional Health Express Care Hours:
Monday – Friday: 1 pm – 9 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Holidays: 10 am – 6 pm (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Note: This article is strictly for news and information about a disease or condition. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to various health issues.