Spring in Tennessee means budding flowers, warmer weather and more often than not, sneezing and sniffling. With all of the state’s major cities ranked in the top 25 of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s nationwide list of “Allergy Capitals,” Tennessee is one of the most challenging places to live if you’re susceptible to spring allergies.
Pollen released from grass, trees, and plants as they are budding usually causes spring allergies, also called seasonal allergies. But allergies in Tennessee can drag on longer because of its relatively long growing season, according to The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.
This handy guide can help you with what to do before and during allergy season to avoid — or at least minimize — all the sniffling, coughing and sneezing.
How to Prepare for Allergy Season
Before the season hits this year, these tips can help you reduce your risk of a major allergy attack:
- Enact a year-round “no shoes in the house” policy to keep dirt, dust and pollen from shoes out of the house.
- Plan your gardening projects for early spring after the last frost but before budding begins.
- Delegate lawn-mowing jobs to someone with no seasonal allergies.
- Invest in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove pollen and other allergens from your house.
- Invest in a vacuum cleaner that accommodates a HEPA filter to trap allergens from floors and surfaces in the canister.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your allergy symptoms and get help.
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What to Ask Your Doctor About Your Allergies
When you see your doctor about your allergies, you’ll want to ask these questions, as suggested by the National Institutes of Health:
- Should I take an allergy test?
- What recommendation do you have for treatment?
- Should I use any over-the-counter medications such as nasal spray?
- Does the medication cause any side effects that could make me feel worse?
- How effective are allergy shots? What are the side effects?
- Should I avoid exercising outdoors?
How to Manage the Day-to-Day Allergy Battle
These tips will help you deal with the daily struggle.
- Avoid air-drying laundry outside during pollen season as it can stick to bedding and clothing.
- Check your local weather for the pollen count and any weather specifics such as wind that can whip up allergies.
- Keep doors and windows closed during high pollen counts and instead rely on an air-conditioning system with high-efficiency filters to circulate and clean indoor air.
- If exercising outdoors, try it at night when pollen counts are lowest.
- Wear a face mask if you have to be outdoors during high pollen counts.
- Vacuum often using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and be sure to have someone else empty the canister.
- During spring, rinse your nose daily with a saline spray to remove mucus and allergens from your nose, so you don’t continue to breathe them in.
- Drink lots of water to keep mucous membranes around your mouth, nose and eyes properly lubricated to reduce irritation from rubbing, sniffling, coughing and sneezing.
While spring allergies might be inevitable, a few steps can make the springtime more enjoyable for those most susceptible.
Naomi Mannino is a health and personal finance journalist who specializes in helping consumers get the most from their health and financial choices. She enjoys sharing her personal experiences and never writes about anything she has not tried herself. You can follow Naomi on Twitter @naomimannino.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.