Spring: The season of sneezin'

Spring: the season of sneezin'

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Spring welcomes you to a jungle ripe with allergens - here's a survival guide to help you through it.

You may not see the tiny flowers on many trees, grasses and other plants, but you'll sure know they're there if you're allergic to their pollen.

The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming – and your seasonal allergies are starting. Here's a survival guide on spring allergies.

Know your allergens. If you start to get the sneezing fits in early spring, you're most likely allergic to tree pollen. Late spring and summer fits may be due to grass pollen. And for some people, spring allergies last until fall, meaning they are also likely allergic to ragweed.

Take your allergy medications. Start taking your non-prescription allergy medications as soon as you start experiencing symptoms as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. Always read and follow the label directions.

Step into the sunshine – but later in the day. Pollen counts are highest in the morning. Consider doing your morning walk in the evening. Save outdoor chores for later in the day.

Be prepared. During allergy season you can check for pollen counts on the Weather Network – online or on TV – or during your local television weather forecast. If the pollen count is high or if the conditions are windy, consider spending your day indoors.

Spring clean. In addition to your annual basement sweep, take pollen-reducing precautions. When you have been outside for any extended period of time, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes. If you can't take a shower, rinse your nose (and eyes if you have eye symptoms) with water (saline solution if that's handy). Don't wear the same clothes again until you've washed them in hot water. And speaking of cleaning clothes, don't dry them outside – you'll only bring pollen back into the house and closer to you.

Keep the air clean in your home. It may be tempting to let the fresh spring air into your home, but it's better for your allergies if you keep doors and windows shut. Use air conditioning at home and in your car. Aerosol sprays and tobacco smoke can make allergy symptoms worse, so avoid these in the home.

Enjoy the April showers. Not everyone enjoys the rain, but the wet weather causes pollen to become damp and heavy, making pollen less likely to move around and more likely to stay on the ground. Allergy symptoms are often less severe on rainy days, so find an activity you can do in the rain. Holding an umbrella may be more tolerable than constant sneezing and nasal congestion!

Source(s) - © McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2010