2013-03-21 / Community

Spring into allergy season

Lisa M. Davidson MSN, RN, FNP-C Lisa M. Davidson MSN, RN, FNP-C As winter is finally coming to an end; many people are looking forward to longer days, warmer temperatures, green grass and flowers blooming. For others, springtime means itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, sneezing and other allergy symptoms. Seasonal allergies, also referred to as “hay fever” or “allergic rhinitis,” usually peak during the changing of seasons when pollen levels are highest.

Having seasonal allergies doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some simple strategies to minimize seasonal allergy symptoms. Check your local news or radio station to see when pollen levels are high; keep windows closed and use an air conditioner in your home and car on those days. Choose optimal times for outdoor activities, like right after a good rain shower. Avoid going outdoors when pollen levels are highest; like early in the morning, and on dry, windy days. Also, change your clothes when you come in the house so that you are not bringing allergens in with you.

If avoiding triggers isn’t enough, there are several overthe counter medications that can help keep symptoms in check. One of the more commonly used medications is called an oral antihistamine. Newer antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) work well and are less likely to cause drowsiness than older antihistamines like diphenydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine ( Chlor- Trimeton). Articificial tears may help with itchy eyes, and nasal sprays may help with sinus congestion.

For many people, avoiding triggers and/or over-the-counter medications may be enough to keep allergy symptoms at bay. Some people have more severe or persistent allergies and may need to see their primary care provider or an allergist. For more information, go to: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases conditions/allergic-rhinitis. html or http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/springtime-allergies/ AA00060.

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Editor’s note: Check U.P. is a monthly column featuring doctors and staff from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, the Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department, and others. This week’s column features Lisa M. Davidson, MSN, RN, FNP-C from the LMAS District Health Department.

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