Disclaimer: These tips are general medical information and do not constitute medical advice. Please contact your physician for information about yourself or your family member.
Spring has arrived and brought pollen with it. Yesterday’s pollen count is the highest ever recorded in Atlanta for that date. According to Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, the record number was 9369 per cubic meter.
If you have springtime allergies you are probably having a tough time right now due to the extremely high pollen counts. Even people who do not normally have allergies can be having some difficulties with the pollen.
- Eyes: Itchy, runny, swollen eyes
- Nose: Stuffy or congested nose, clear or colored nasal discharge, sneezing or itchy nose, post nasal drainage
- Throat: Sore or itchy throat
- Lungs: Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
- Skin: Increased itching, scratching of the skin and a possible flare of eczema, atopic dermatitis or other skin conditions.
Tips To Avoid Pollen:
- Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity, especially in the yard.
- Run your air conditioner in your home and change your air filter regularly.
- Keep your windows closed for now.
- Vacuum at least twice a week. Empty the bag and change the filters regularly.
- Dust or clean any visible pollen from your house.
- Wash your hands, hair, body, and clothes when you come in from the outside.
- Remove your shoes and jackets at the door.
- Wash off pets if they have been running and playing in the yard.
- Keep your car windows and sunroof closed and run the air conditioner on re-circulate to avoid bringing in air from the outside.
- Consider an air purifier if you have very bad symptoms. Put it in the room where you sleep and shut the door to keep pollen from entering.
- Remove any unnecessary carpets or objects that collect pollen and dust from your room during this time.
- Avoid outdoor exercise when the pollen count is high because it may be harmful to your system. Even indoor exercise might be a problem if you have respiratory symptoms like wheezing or coughing so contact your physician before you exercise.
Treatment for Hay Fever Symptoms:
If you have a cough, wheezing or difficulty breathing, immediately call your doctor. For serious breathing problems call 911. You may be having a serious problem like an asthma attack. Treatment may include breathing treatments or steroids. You will definitely need to see your doctor if you are concerned about your cough or breathing.
In general, anti-histamines (like diphenhydramine, loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine) are the first thing many people try because they decrease the allergic response. There are multiple over the counter preparations that work pretty well, but oftentimes one works better for one individual than another, and some have less side effects, like sedation, than others. There are prescription medications as well that your doctor can prescribe to you.
Decongestants help by relieving the inflammation and congestion that comes with the allergic response. Medications like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are available over the counter but can have serious side effects, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking them.
Steroids also decrease the inflammation related to allergies so they are used commonly if the anti-histamine or decongestants are not effective. Steroids are always prescribed by a physician or health care provider and cannot be obtained over the counter.
For itchy eyes (Allergic Conjunctivitis) there are many types of over the counter drops that work very well. One product has pheneramine (anti-histamine) and naphazoline (gets the red out). As with any medicine it can have side effects so contact your doctor if you are taking any other medications before you use it. Please discuss the treatment with your physician if you have any concerns.
Sneezing, runny nose, and congestion are symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis. There are many different preparations for this as well starting with decongestants which dry up your nose. Other preparations are steroid nasal sprays and medicines that stabilize the allergic response.
Enjoy Spring, but be careful if you are having allergic symptoms and call your doctor for any medical advice. CorrectMed Pediatrics can answer your questions and treat you if needed.