By Tara Weng, GalTime.com
Spring AllergiesWith experts predicting one of the worst allergy seasons in ten years, allergy sufferers better be on high alert.
Allergists say there are things you can do to avoid the sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and scratchy throats though before they hit.
"People with spring allergies often don't realize how many things can aggravate their allergy symptoms, so they just muddle along and hope for an early end to the season," said Dr. Myron Zitt, former American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) president. "But there's no reason to suffer. A few simple adjustments in habits and treatment can make springtime much more enjoyable."
Some of the tips experts suggest include keeping your car and house windows closed so that pollen can't drift inside from the outdoors. Pollen tends to be worst early in the morning. Your health care provider can also recommend a variety of medications to help keep your symptoms under control.
Doctors also caution allergy sufferers to use the right air filter. There are many to choose from.
Although the FDA has no health-related standards (as far as air filters go), it does consider some portable air filtration systems to be Class II medical devices. The Administration offers the following guidelines when considering an air filter, and questions to consider before purchasing one.
What substances will the cleaner remove from the air in my home? What substances will it not?
What is the efficiency rating of the cleaner in relation to the "true HEPA" standard?
Will the unit clean the air in a room the size of my bedroom?
How easy/difficult is it to change the filter? (Ask for demonstration.) How often does it have to be changed? How much do filters cost? Are they readily available throughout the year?
How much noise does the unit make? Is it quiet enough to run while I sleep? (Turn it on and try it, even though you will probably be in a noisy place.)
In addition, it's important to note the differences between the common cold, influenza and seasonal allergies.
- If symptoms last longer than a week, it might be allergies.
- A cold or flu can cause a fever and achiness. Allergies don't.
- If your nose is running and it's clear, odds are good that an allergy is the cause.
Experts caution that if allergies go long untreated they can lead to more serious conditions including ear infections and sinusitis.
Most recommened consulting your physician for a full work-up, including allergy testing, if you are unsure about your symptoms. This will give you the right information and hopefully clear up any questions you might have as to what you might be allergic to and how to avoid those triggers.
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