The One About Oak Allergies

Ah…  

Ah, spring!  What a beautiful time of year!  These are the days of perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold.  The weather is just right, in fact! 

These are the days that you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible!  And then… the oak pollen starts to fall.  That yellow coating accumulates on cars and sidewalks, seemingly everywhere.  In our area, it really cannot be avoided.

Ah…choo! 

For many seasonal allergy sufferers, oak season leads to sniffling, sneezing,and wheezing.  The beauty of being outside in March and April disappears in a cloud of yellow pollen.  And yet, the weather doesn’t get any better for outdoor fun than it is now! 

Tips:

Many would recommend staying indoors on high pollen count days.  I think that is hard to do in spring around here!  For people with severe allergies, it may be necessary at times, but what else can be done to help with allergen exposure and symptoms?

  • Shower and change clothes when coming in from outdoor activities.  This should at least be done before bedtime so that pollen is kept out of the bed sheets.  If you have a toddler or preschooler who goes in and out all day long, at least washing off hands and faces after playing outside will help.
  • Keep windows closed and change air filters to decrease pollen inside the house.
  • Clean out that nose!  For younger children, using nasal saline spray and a good nasal suction can help remove mucous and allergens from the nasal passageways.  For older children and adults, nasal sinus rinses that use sterile saline (Neti Pot or NeilMed sinus rinse) are very effective.
  • Over the counter antihistamines can help with nasal and eye symptoms.  The older generation diphenhydramine (Benadryl) tends to cause drowsiness so is best given at bedtime.  Newer generation antihistamines cause less drowsiness and are usually dosed once a day.
  • Nasal Corticosteroids are prescription nose sprays that are very effective in reducing allergy symptoms.  They must be used daily to be effective.

The bottom line is this: reduce allergen exposure where you can, talk to your doctor about appropriate medications for your child, and enjoy the outdoors this spring!

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