Thanks to the mild winter we just experienced, we’re seeing an earlier spring than usual. For thousands of eastern Idahoans, though, this also means allergy season is striking earlier. While allergy symptoms vary depending on specific allergies, if you’re experiencing symptoms such as coughing, itching, congestion, swelling, hives and inflammation of the eyes, nose or throat—you’re not alone.
Approximately 50 million Americans—of all ages—suffer from allergies, which are among the most common chronic conditions worldwide. Many allergies include grass, plant and tree pollens, insect stings, household dust, animal dander, food, medicine, feathers and mold. But tree and grass pollen season is in full swing as buds sprout, grass greens up and the spring winds blow the pollen everywhere.
Tips for Managing Allergies this Season
Grass pollen levels are largely affected by temperature, time of day and rain. When the weather is dry and windy, grass pollen levels are likely to be higher. Rain tends to keep grass pollen levels down. If you suffer from grass pollen allergies, avoid mowing the lawn or working in it directly after it has been mowed. Avoid the outdoors in the early morning hours, when pollen levels are highest.
Trees are one of the earliest pollen producers. Trees can aggravate your allergy whether or not they are on your property, since trees release large amounts of pollen that can be distributed miles away from the original source. If you buy trees for your yard, look for species that do not aggravate allergies.
As with grass pollen, avoid the outdoors from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., when pollen levels are likely to be higher. Also, keep the windows in your home and car closed as much as possible. If the weather is warm, use the air conditioner in your home instead of using fans that will blow the pollen into the air. Dry your clothes in an automatic dryer rather than hanging them outside, especially in the wind.
Antihistamines and decongestants in the form of eye drops, nasal sprays, liquids, and pills are all effective methods of managing allergy symptoms. Additionally, many over-the-counter medications can relieve allergy symptoms. However, you should consult with a physician before you begin taking any new medications.
Allergy Relief is Only a Phone Call Away
Not only are allergies a nuisance, but they can become a serious health concern if not treated properly. If you or a loved one suffer from seasonal allergies, there is some good news. Allergist Dr. Douglas H. Jones, a Blackfoot native, is part of the Bingham Memorial Hospital medical team at the Idaho Physicians Clinic.
Dr. Jones is uniquely qualified to offer allergy relief to his patients. He received a degree in biology from the University of Utah and his medical degree from Penn State University College of Medicine. Dr. Jones also completed a residency program in Internal Medicine and a sub-specialty training in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and by the American Board of Internal Medicine.