NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Spring is now in full swing — and with it, comes seasonal allergies that can be a hassle if not handled properly.
Dr. Julie Kuriakose, Medical Director at Hudson Allergy, shared some of her best tips and tricks to managing your allergies through the spring and summer seasons.
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip and feeling fatigued.
“It may feel like a cold, but you’re not having the muscle aches — and symptoms will last longer than a couple of days,” Dr. Kuriakose said.
Seasonal allergies can last for weeks — or even months — so it’s important to start prevention early.
Prevention Is Key
If you need allergy medication, Dr. Kuriakose recommends beginning treatment up to two weeks before pollen counts are expected to rise — allowing for maximum results.
Dr. Kuriakose recommends choosing either an oral antihistamine or a nasal steroid — or a combination of both — to help combat your allergy symptoms. Many people are often allergic to multiple things, so it’s best to speak with your doctor or allergist to help pinpoint which treatment would best fit your needs.
“There could be other things that are compounding and not just in the spring,” Dr. Kuriakose said.
Keeping An Allergy-Free Home
During peak allergy season, pollen is everywhere — so it’s important to keep exposure to a minimum, especially when it comes to bringing pollen into your home.
“You don’t want to bring anything that you may have on your clothes into the house,” Dr. Kuriakose said.
Dr. Kuriakose advises to thoroughly wash your hands as soon as you get home, and to change out of any clothes that may have picked up pollen on your daily travels. Showering at night will also help keep any pollen you may have on your body from becoming trapped in fabric around your house.
Keeping an air conditioner in your home is a great way to keep cool for the summer, while also keeping potential allergens at bay. But if you do decide to install an air conditioner, routine cleaning is must to prevent dust and other buildup from accumulating in the filter.
Dr. Kuriakose advises to replaces your air conditioner filter at the beginning of the season and to clear it once a week with a damp cloth. If you use your air conditioner for longer periods of time, be sure to change or replace the filter once every three months.
Watch What You Eat
During allergy season, even some of the foods you eat can be affected by the pollen count. If you experience itching of the mouth and throat, you may be experiencing oral allergy symptoms.
According to Dr. Kuriakose, tree-hanging fruits — like apples, peaches, pears, cherries and bananas — can sometimes contain allergens that could trigger spring allergy symptoms. Pollen-related allergens can also affect certain nuts, like walnuts and almonds, even if you don’t have a nut allergy.
Keep An Eye On The Pollen Count
Warmer weather can also mean spending more time outside — which puts you at greater risk for allergen exposure. Dr. Kuriakose advises to keep an eye on the pollen count when planning outdoor excursions so potential symptoms don’t get in the way of a good time.
Check out Pollen.com for real-time pollen forecasts in your area.