Every spring, trees and plants release pollen into the air and this pollen can trigger an immune response.
This process is commonly referred to as “having allergies.” Dr. Joseph Cooke from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens shares the following tips to help individuals who may suffer from allergies.
“Allergies affect millions in the U.S., and while is there no way to avoid irritants like pollen entirely, there are simple solutions to mitigate allergic reactions,” explains Dr. Cooke.
- Check the pollen index. Get in the helpful habit of checking these pollen counts daily. When the pollen count is high, consider limiting your outdoor exposure.
- Know when pollen counts are the highest. Pollen counts tend to be the highest during midday hours. Try to schedule usual outdoor activities and exercise in the morning or late afternoon.
- Change the filters in your house regularly. Air filters make a big difference in air quality. Make sure you’re changing out your air and furnace filters as recommended to reduce irritants in your home.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Keep the allergens out of your house by taking off your shoes as you enter your home. Additionally, change out of your work clothes and keep them away from your bed.
- Understand your allergy. There are around 30 different types of pollen and it is possible to be allergic to more than one type. If you regularly suffer from allergies, you may want to consider asking your doctor about taking an allergy test.
- Use antihistamines two hours prior to sustained outdoor activity. If pollen counts are high, and you cannot avoid staying outdoors, use antihistamines two hours prior to outdoor activities to reduce allergy symptoms.
- Select the right vacuum. A vacuum with HEPA-filtration technology can help remove irritants from the home to reduce the chance of breathing in pollen or dust.
- Opt for the air conditioner. Fresh air in the home and car after the winter season seems nice, but for those with allergies, it might not be practical. If the pollen count is high, close your windows and consider turning on the air conditioning.
- Make “spring cleaning” a season-long habit. During the spring season, we are constantly bringing irritants into the home. When pollen counts are high, be extra diligent about personal hygiene, washing your clothes, and cleaning up the house.
- Consider eye drops and nasal rinses. Using saline eye drops and rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution can reduce irritation, nasal congestion, and drainage throughout the day.
NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties. Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork- Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually. For more information, visit nyp.org/queens.