The wonderful spring time weather is here and along with it, pollen is rearing its ugly head in Kentucky. Many residents have most likely experienced the common symptoms of seasonal allergies as a result: sneezing, itchy/watering eyes, and stuffy noses. Allergies are certainly no fun for anyone.
Although pollen is high in our area, it is not the only culprit that can cause allergy symptoms. Some people may experience reactions to pets, cigarette smoke, dust or other plants.
It is best to avoid known allergens, if possible. Although we cannot completely avoid pollen and some other environmental allergens, there are ways we can learn to deal with them.
Most weather channels can provide you with a pollen forecast for your area. You can also find this by viewing the weather station website or The National Allergy Bureau website. Viewing the pollen forecast can help you plan ahead.
Here are some ways you can decrease your exposure to allergens such as pollen:
■ Keep windows closed and avoid indoor fans when pollen counts are high.
■ Avoid long exposure outdoors when pollen counts are high.
■ Avoid yard work or other contact with trees/plants if these activities cause allergy symptoms.
■ Keep your indoor environment dusted frequently.
■ Change your clothes after being outdoors. You can bring the pollen inside with you.
Although we can try to avoid pollen and other allergens, some people will continue to have those pesky seasonal allergy symptoms. Most allergy symptoms can be well-controlled with over-the-counter medications. You should always consult your medical provider before taking these medications, as these medications are not appropriate for everyone. Prescription allergy medications are also available.
Seasonal allergies may be bothersome on their own, but they often lead to other complications as well. Some include:
■ Sinus infections
■ Ear infections
■ Other respiratory infections
■ Decreased quality of life
Seek treatment from a medical provider if allergy symptoms are getting to you. There are many treatments available that can help you control your allergies and live a better quality of life.
Aundrea Raleigh is a nurse practitioner at Baptist Express Care Clinic located inside the Hamburg Wal-Mart.