Some of us don't need to watch the weather to know when the pollen count is high, or know that some of the trees have already begun to release their pollen spores. Many allergy sufferers in parts of the southern United States begin to see their symptoms develop as early as January, when it used to not start until February. People in the north aren't used to needing their allergy medicines until the last half of February. Doctors around the country are already seeing the signs of a particularly long and tough allergy season.
With the apparent climate changes and winter seeming to come to an end quicker than it did in the past, we can expect trees and other plants to become active sooner. Tree pollens are released during early spring, while ragweed comes later in the spring and in late summer.
If you have a lung condition like asthma or COPD, you probably already know how bad allergies can be if you have them. Sinus allergies can easily drain down into the lungs and cause a flare-up, so these problems usually go hand-in-hand for the people who have them. It's important that you work with your doctor in preventing your allergies.
Be sure to visit your doctor in the late part of winter, so you can get a head start on preventing allergy symptoms and flare-ups. Doctors usually recommend that you start paying close attention to the pollen count in late winter, and take your allergy medicine the day before it is predicted to be high. A pollen count is high when it is around 1,000 or higher – this is when most people start to experience discomfort.
Mornings are usually the worst, when pollen spores are released. This is the reason you should take your allergy medicine before you go to bed at night. Many prescription allergy medicines are effective for 24 hours, while some of the strongest ones can be effective for even longer. Let your doctor know if your allergy medicine seems to not work as well as it used to, which might mean that you need to switch to a different one.
Other Ways to Prevent Allergy Symptoms this Spring
Use a “Neti Pot” to rinse out your nasal passages. This removes any pollen spores in your nose so that they won't have a chance to trigger your symptoms. You can also use a nasal spray and blow your nose afterward, which will flush away any offending allergens. Do this a few times a day during allergy season, especially right after you come in from outside.
Leave your jacket and shoes in a closet or other enclosure when you come inside, or leave them inside an enclosed porch or foyer. You can also wipe things down that have come in from outside, with a wet cloth. Wash your hands, face and hair when you come in for the day, or take a shower.
If your allergies are particularly severe, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting allergy shots. With an allergy shot, you are injected with a small amount of the allergen, which is supposed to help your body gain an immunity to it. With severe allergies, you might still get the symptoms, just not as bad after you've gotten the shots.