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At long last, springtime is here! You may be eager to smell the blooming flowers, hear the birds chirping, and feel warmer breezes tickling your skin. However, spring isn't always greeted with excitement by everyone. For people with spring allergies, the season usually ushers in sneezing, itchy, red eyes and a runny nose that can make them miserable. If this sounds familiar and you need some relief, you might try these tips to make living with allergies a little more bearable.

1. Simple Changes to Your Home

A few simple changes at home can help reduce your exposure to pollen and help minimize your discomfort. You can start by keeping all the windows and doors closed to limit the pollen’s ability to get inside. And rather than using fans to cool your home, stick with air conditioning instead. Try leaving your shoes by the front door to avoid tracking pollen inside. Another easy adjustment: when you clean your floors, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap microscopic particles. These small modifications to daily routines can add up to major relief.

2. Natural Remedies

Additional research is needed, but there are a few natural and organic remedies that might help keep allergy symptoms at bay. In one study, Biminne, a formulation of Chinese herbs (such as skullcap and ginkgo biloba), was taken by study participants five times per day over a 12 week period. Participants still felt relief a year later, a positive sign for those with allergies.

Natural remedies might be a great fit for many people. Butterbur, an extract from a shrub, also shows promise. But if you’re sensitive to marigold and ragweed, be careful-- it's possible that butterbur could cause an allergic reaction. It is also important to remember that just because a product claims to be "natural" doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe or effective. Always speak to your healthcare provider for guidance before trying any natural home remedies or herbal treatments.

3. Allergy Medicine

Allergy medications are formulated to block the body's response to allergens. Antihistamines can help stave off the sniffles and runny nose, both pesky hallmarks of seasonal allergies. Additionally, these tend to work in less than an hour -- so you can get relief quickly and jump back into your busy day. Be sure to read the package directions as some formulations could wind up making you drowsy.

You can also try a nasal spray if you have more severe allergies. Allergy shots might be recommended by your healthcare provider if other options aren't providing relief.

If you have asthma, you need to be particularly alert during the spring pollen season. For many asthmatics, the increase in the pollen count and changes in the weather can make asthma attacks more likely. Check in with your healthcare provider if you’re looking for a safe, effective way to combat asthma and seasonal allergies.

Enjoy the outdoors with the right precautions to keep your allergy and asthma symptoms in check!

Urgent Care Association of America