Allergy season is nothing to sneeze at

Woman suffering from outdoor allergies

Spring is a beautiful time of year when all the flowers and trees are in bloom, but for an allergy sufferer it’s not a time to smell the roses. When you have allergies, you have a higher sensitivity to certain substances, so here are a few ideas to help ease your allergy worries.

The substances that often cause an allergic reaction can include pollens, foods, or small organisms. Common signs of an allergy may include sneezing, itching, and skin rashes.

Bad news for people in these cities

In some cities, every year is a bad year for allergies. According to the Spring Allergy Capitals report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the cities listed below were the worst cities in America for springtime allergies in 2016. Several factors are considered when ranking these cities. These include pollen scores and the number of allergy medicines used per patient. The rankings also include the number of board-certified allergists per patient.

The top 10 cities with the worst allergy levels in 2016:1

  1. Jackson, MS
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. Syracuse, NY
  4. Louisville, KY
  5. McAllen, TX
  6. Wichita, KS
  7. Oklahoma City, OK
  8. Providence, RI
  9. Knoxville, TN
  10. Buffalo, NY

For the full list of Top 100 cities, go to (link opens in new window).

Assuming that moving is out of the question, here’s some advice from WebMd® for dealing with seasonal allergies.2

Whenever possible, avoid exposure to the things that trigger your allergic reactions.

  • Avoiding triggers may be as simple as closing your windows and using HEPA filters in your air conditioner to minimize pollen circulating through your home.
  • Planning a vacation? You’ll probably be more comfortable near the ocean, where pollen counts are typically lower.
  • If outdoor exercise or walking your pet is part of your daily routine, try to head outdoors early in the morning or in the evening. Pollen levels tend to be lower then.
  • Pets are notorious for sneaking pollen into our homes! A quick rinse with a hose or a vigorous brushing before going inside may help when your dog’s been out on a high-pollen day.
  • And don’t neglect your own hair and coat. If you’ve been outside when the pollen is high, shake out your clothing and brush your hair before entering the house. Shampooing your hair before your head hits the pillow will help keep your bed linens free of allergens, as well.

If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself sniffling and sneezing, there are a number of home remedies as well as over-the-counter or prescription medicines that may help ease your suffering. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. Here is an overview of common treatments - from WebMD.

  • Topical nasal sprays like prescription Flonase® and Nasonex® use corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the lining of the nose. They are usually used daily leading up to and throughout allergy season.
  • Prescription oral antihistamines (like Zyrtec® and Clarinex®) help minimize the release of histamines – a chemical released during an allergic reaction that can cause a runny nose and sneezing. Common over-the-counter antihistamines include Alelgra® and Claritin®.
  • Astelin is another prescription antihistamine, but it comes in the form of a nasal spray.
  • Allergy shots are another common treatment option. Taken regularly over time, they work with your immune system to creating antibodies that help minimize your body’s sensitivity to allergens.
  • One popular home remedy is nasal lavage, where a saltwater solution is flushed through the nose in one nostril and out the other, or draining through the mouth. This keeps the nasal passages open and can help clear the sinuses.

This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor

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