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Managing spring time allergies

Symptoms and treatment for spring time allergies

March 28, 2017

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Spring is a time to finally get outside and enjoy a picnic in the grass or start planting your garden. But for some, allergies can ruin an otherwise enjoyable day. With pollen in the air and pets shedding their winter coats, allergies can take a turn for the worst. Being knowledgeable and proactive can help keep your symptoms in check.

Gwen Verchota, our lead nurse practitioner from, offers some helpful tips for dealing with spring allergies.

What medicine should be taken for allergies?

Allergies can cause sneezing and a stuffy or runny nose. Over-the-counter medications called antihistamines can usually help. Some may cause drowsiness, like Benadryl. (And for kids under six, it can sometimes cause hyperactivity.) But newer medications have reduced this side effect. Consider taking Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec instead. And, the generic versions of these medications are just as effective, but at a much lower cost.

Nasal sprays can also help, as they reduce nasal swelling. This can work well with anti-histamines. Flonase and Nasacort are good options for swelling relief. They bring down the inflammation in your nose and sinuses. And, they are now available in an over-the-counter option.

Decongestants, like Sudafed, can relieve congestion. But they can have other side effects. They can raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and irritability, or cause insomnia.

When should medicine be taken?

Take allergy medications early and regularly. Ideally, start taking medications as early as two weeks before pollen counts are high. Once inflammation has occurred, it may take longer to get relief.

Are there any natural remedies?

There are quite a few non-medication treatments that can help with allergy symptoms. A Neti pot is a popular option and simple to use. A salt water solution is poured from the pot into the nasal passages which can reduce swelling.

What can be done to avoid allergens?

The best approach is to keep your home a safe space from allergies. Watch pollen levels that are reported on local weather reports. If they are high, keep your windows closed and vacuum twice a week. Be sure to keep you and your clothes clean by washing when you get home to remove pollen particles. Also, keep pets out of your bedroom and off the couch as pollen will cling to an animal’s fur.

If you are traveling, check your destination for pollen counts. While allergies might not be affecting you at home, pollen counts might be higher in other parts of the world.

As we head into the prime season for allergies, try to get an early start on your allergy action plan, before the height of pollen counts and your symptoms. Finding the best plan and medications can be done with an in-person visit, or through our online clinic,

You can learn more about allergies here:

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