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Are your allergies worse than ever this year? Are you experiencing seasonal allergies for the first time? You’re not alone. Many people are reporting worse allergies this year than in previous years and some are even reporting experiencing allergy symptoms for the first time ever.

Experts say, as spring temperatures get warmer, faster pollen production increases. Not only are botanicals producing pollen earlier, but they are also producing more of it for longer periods of time. Research shows that allergy season is now 10 days longer than it was 30 years ago, and trees, grass, and weeds are producing up to 21% more pollen, which leads to increased reactions in those with seasonal allergies. The first freeze is also happening later in the fall, keeping the plants and weeds that cause allergies alive longer.

But the rising temperatures isn’t the only thing to blame for allergies that seem worse than normal. COVID-19 or the precautions we took to prevent the spread in 2020 may also be contributing to more widespread allergies. There are several reasons while this could be happening:

  • The masks we wore for over a year help filter out some allergens meaning less exposure
  • Staying largely inside may have reduced our tolerance to allergens
  • People are spending more time outside this Spring

Limit your exposure

The best way to keep your allergies under control is to limit your exposure to the pollens to which you are most sensitive. While it may be tempting to open the windows and let fresh air in when the temperatures warm up, keeping the windows in your home and car shut can limit the amount of pollen that gets into your home. Experts recommend using a HEPA air filter in your home and try swapping it out for a new one about every month during pollen season.

Pets and their fur are great at trapping allergens and bringing them inside, so try give your dog a good brush down after a walk and keep them inside during high pollen days. If you are really suffering, change your clothes after being outside to reduce the number of allergens you bring inside. You can also keep wearing your mask to limit exposure.

Get some relief

Regardless of why your allergies are acting up, there are things you can do to help alleviate your runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy throat.

  • Switch to glasses if you wear contacts, or make sure you clean your contacts daily.
  • Wash your hands and face after being outdoors. 
  • Use a saline solution to clean your nasal passages and eyes.
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medicines. Look for an antihistamine if you have an itchy nose and eyes or if you’re sneezing. Get a decongestant for a stuffy nose.

If these suggestions and over-the-counter medication doesn’t work, call your doctor here at Horizon Family Medical Group and ask about your prescription allergy medication or try starting a new one.