When you walk out the door in the morning, you may notice a film of yellow covering your front porch, your vehicle and the street. The yellow film is a familiar culprit known as pollen. According to weather.com, the pollen counts for Arkansas have been very high during the majority of the month of May.
WebMD reports that more than 25 million Americans are allergic to pollen. When allergies strike, you may have an itchy throat, red, itchy and watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, or find yourself sneezing, wheezing or coughing. A pollen allergy can easily get in the way of your everyday life, but it doesn’t have to. There are several over-the-counter options to help you cope with allergies.
For APRN Andria Merritt, patients coming with allergy related symptoms is common.
“There are many over-the-counter options readily available to you and your family members.
Antihistamines such as Claritin or Zyrtec are very effective in reducing allergy symptoms, especially if taken on a daily basis during the season. You may need to try several different ones to find the right one for you. Steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase, are typically used on a daily basis and can help decrease nasal swelling and reduce the congestion that is usually experienced.
Never underestimate the effectiveness of saline sprays. These can be great for thinning out secretions and keeping the membrane in your nose moist,” Merritt said. “Always be careful when using nasal decongestant such as Afrin. These should be used on a short-term basis. They can actually make your symptoms worse if used longer than three days. If your symptoms are still not controlled and are interfering with your daily activities, follow up with your provider to discuss further options. Allergists are available for those needing more specialized care."
Keep the following tips in mind to decrease your reaction to pollen.
Before heading outdoors this time of year, check the weather. Your local weather report should include pollen counts. Pollen counts tend to be high when it is warm, dry and windy, while lower when it is cool, rainy and wet. If you can, avoid going outside when the count is high.
Instead of opening windows in your car or home, run the air conditioner.
If you have been outside, change your clothing, shower and wash your hair before getting into bed.
Be sure to wear sunglasses for eye protection and a hat in order to create a buffer from pollen.
If needed, discuss an over-the-counter option with your healthcare provider.
The NARMC team hopes you enjoy your time outdoors this summer. We are here to care for you and your family whenever you need us.
Andria Merritt, APRN, is currently accepting new patients at the Family Doctors Clinic is Harrison. For an appointment, call 870-741-8286.