Spring brings sunshine, emerging greenery and longer days, but many people dread this season for the sinus pressure, headaches, itchy eyes and respiratory problems it brings. This is the time to watch for allergy symptoms and keep your immune system strong.
“There is no single allergy season,” said Dr. Vijaya Chapala, M.D., internal medicine physician with Northwest Medical Group. “Allergy symptoms may vary throughout the year, depending on the weather and the types of substances you’re allergic to. Still, many people experience a worsening of their allergies around springtime, when pollen counts are highest.”
If you or a family member suffers from hay fever or allergic rhinitis, here are some helpful tips to keep symptoms in check:
• Leave the pollen outside. Take your shoes off at the door as much as possible, to keep from spreading pollen through your house.
• Close your windows and dust your fans. Despite the nice weather, true sufferers should keep the windows shut to prevent allergens from entering. If you use a ceiling fan, give it a good spring cleaning. Replace air filters in your home and car.
• Be thorough in your spring cleaning. Wash down your walls, get rid of clutter, launder all sheets and comforters, dust and clean blinds, baseboards and everywhere else you can reach.
• Keep your immune system strong. Eat fresh, clean, nutrient rich foods and stay active. The healthier your immune system, the more equipped your body is to battle histamines.
• Be aware of the pollen count. It changes daily – look up the count for the day, by zip code, at www.pollen.com
• Sip warm beverages. Herbal teas can help ease congestion and keep you hydrated.
While Americans spend over $2 billion each year on over-the-counter allergy remedies, many feel their efficacy in managing symptoms is minimal. There are also potential risks to self-medicating, as some over-the-counter medications can interfere or interact poorly with other medications the patient is taking. If you suffer from more than just the occasional sneezing fit or itchy eyes, it’s best to schedule time with your primary care physician ahead of allergy season to map out a plan.
“It’s important to manage allergy symptoms early, before the effects take a toll on overall quality of life,” said Dr. Chapala. “Left untreated, seasonal allergies can cause sinus swelling leading to chronic sinusitis. Your digestive tract can also suffer – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is often a direct effect of the body’s allergic response.”
Allergies are likely to affect someone in your home. In addition to tips for avoiding allergy triggers, there are many effective treatments to minimize symptoms. Enjoy all the wonderful experiences spring has to offer by talking with your doctor about the best allergy prevention or treatment path for you.
To schedule a visit with Dr. Chapala at her office in Hobart call 219-947-7880 or visit NWMedicalGroup.com.
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About Northwest Health
Northwest Health is a comprehensive healthcare system committed to providing communities in Northwest Indiana with high-quality, accessible healthcare—from highly specialized care and surgical services to more routine primary care. The system of more than 60 access points includes three hospitals, five emergency departments, urgent care centers, outpatient surgery centers, an ambulance service, and physician offices. A team of more than 3,000 employees work together with the more than 700 physicians on its medical staffs. For more information, visit NWHealthIN.com.