While your calendar says springtime, the temperate outside may still feel like winter. If you are prone to seasonal allergies, you should start your routine now.
Winter Season Dictates Spring Allergies
The winter weather plays a large role in how bad your spring allergies will be. Mild winters, like the one we just had, can cause trees to pollinate earlier. This extends the allergy season by a few weeks.
Once the temperatures are above freezing overnight, plants can start to bloom. This is especially true for tree pollen, the first springtime allergen to appear. According to experts, tree pollen begins end of February to early March and can continue going strong until the end of June.
Grass pollens usually peak in May, while tree pollen still remains high.
The only way to treat your spring allergies is to know what you are allergic to. This will require a visit to your Eastern Oklahoma ENT doctor.
Your allergist will complete both a skin prick test and a blood test in order to determine what is causing your symptoms.
A skin prick test involves placing a drop of allergen extract on your skin. A lancet is used to prick through the drop into the skin’s surface. After 15 minutes your reaction will be measured. If you are allergic to the extract, you will develop a raised, red and itchy bump, known as a wheal.
A blood test is done to confirm the results of your skin prick test. The blood test measures the amount of a specific antibody known as immunoglobin E (IgE); the higher the amount, the more likely you are to be allergic.
Treating Springtime Allergies
The best way to treat allergies is by avoidance. This can be done by:
- Limiting your outdoor time, especially when there are high pollen counts
- Using high-efficiency particulate absorbance (HEPA) air filters
- Washing your bedding in hot soapy water
- Changing your clothes when you come in from outside
Since you cannot avoid all allergens, most of us will also take allergy medication. Start taking your medication now, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. This helps your body prevent the release of chemicals, specifically histamine, that causes allergy symptoms.
To learn more about treating your allergies, contact the experts at Eastern Oklahoma ENT today.