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Budding trees create misery for allergy sufferers

Published in Allergy & Asthma Author: Mary Keating,MD

We all look forward to spring and the renewal of our lush plants. But for those with allergies, the trees budding out can make spring agonizing. This season only lasts four to six weeks. Once the leaves come out, trees are done making pollen.

There are several ways allergy sufferers can prevent or reduce their symptoms when tree pollen season arrives:

  • Avoid it. Stay inside when pollen counts are high — especially in the morning and on windy days. Tree pollen can travel hundreds of miles in the wind. Keep your windows shut in your house and car.
  • Cover up. When you go outside, wear a hat. When you go inside, change your clothes and wash your face and hands. Or better yet, take a shower. Hair is a pollen magnet.
  • Treat it. Trying over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays and doing environmental measures is surely a first step in controlling your allergies.

Sometimes it’s nice to know what exact trees you’re allergic to so you can start medications in advance. If you’ve already tried over-the-counter medications without much benefit, it would be best to see an allergist where you can be tested and various treatment options discussed. There are prescription medications and allergy shots that may be appropriate for each individual patient.