Ah choo!

15678213_S (2)Guess what’s sweeping the country right now? We’re not talking about the hottest new rock band, a blockbuster movie or the latest surefire way to lose weight.

For some 50 million Americans–about one in five, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology–it’s the season for allergies. They’re kicking up a storm!

Spring arrived two to three weeks earlier than normal, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey and the USA National Phenology Network. Juniper pollen showed up a month early.

Of course, there are different kinds of allergies that can be set off by bee stings, peanut butter and more. The one running rampant right now, which is causing your immune system to overreact to the allergens, includes plant pollen, dust mites and other irritants.

Before you know it, you’re coughing, sneezing and wiping at your nose and red, itchy eyes. Although allergies typically begin in childhood, they begin at any age.

But enough about all of that. What you really want to hear is how to relieve the symptoms of allergies.

  • At the earliest onset, start taking over-the-counter allergy medication such as Claritin, Alavert, Zyrtec or Allegra once per day. Many medicines, such as Claritin, were prescription drugs only a few years ago. They typically pack a better punch without making you drowsy. There also are options for specific symptoms, such as red eyes.
  • Do what you can to avoid contact with pollen. Don’t drive with your car windows open. Ditto at home. Every week, vacuum your drapes and wash your bedding to remove any pollen you might have brought in. Finally, when you are outside, wear a broad hat and movie-star sunglasses to keep the wind from blowing pollen into your face.
  • Take a shower, preferably before you go to bed, so you don’t roll around in the pollen that shakes out of your hair. Again, the goal is simply to keep pollen at arm’s length.
  • If your symptoms continue after a few days of over-the-counter medication, or you start coughing up thick green mucus, call WellVia for a consultation. Allergies are among the most common ailments we treat. Our doctors can tell whether your allergies are developing into something worse, such as asthma or a sinus infection. If necessary, they can prescribe the antibiotics, antihistamines or nasal sprays you require on your way to wellness.

Take solace in knowing you’re not alone in your struggle. Some call this the worst allergy season ever. But remember: It will come to an end.

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