KNOXVILLE, TN (April 10, 2017)– With abundant sunshine, emerging greenery and extended daylight hours, spring is bringing renewal to East Tennessee. However, for many who live here, it is also bringing elevated pollen levels—plus the headaches, sinus pressure, itchy eyes and respiratory difficulties that come along with it. Tennova Healthcare has some advice on how to keep allergies in check during this time of year.
“There is no single allergy season,” said Charles D. Rutledge, M.D., a family medicine physician with Tennova Healthcare. “Symptoms may vary over the course of the year, depending on where you live or what you are allergic to. However, many people do experience a worsening of their allergy symptoms in the springtime, which is typically caused by the increased levels of tree and grass pollens in the air.”
For some people, spring allergies may begin as early as February and last throughout the summer. This year, meteorologists are predicting that much of the southeastern U.S. will experience higher-than-normal pollen levels because of the mild winter and the early start of the growing season. High concentrations of pollen are already being reported across East Tennessee, according to the National Allergy Bureau.
If you or a family member suffers from hay fever or allergic rhinitis, here are some things you can do to keep symptoms in check:
- Leave the pollen outside. Take your shoes off at the door to keep from tracking pollen into your home.
- Keep your windows and doors closed, and dust your fans. “Despite the nice weather, sufferers should keep windows and doors shut to prevent allergens from entering,” Dr. Rutledge said. “If you use a ceiling fan, give it a good cleaning, and be certain to replace air filters in your home and car.”
- Be thorough in your spring cleaning. Wipe down your walls. Get rid of clutter. Launder all sheets and comforters. Dust and clean window blinds, baseboards and anywhere else you can reach.
- Keep your immune system strong. “Eat fresh, nutrient-rich foods and stay active,” Dr. Rutledge said. “The healthier your immune system, the better equipped your body will be to battle the allergens.”
- Sip warm beverages. Herbal teas can help ease congestion and keep you hydrated.
- Be aware of the pollen count. It changes daily. Look it up by zip code at www.pollen.com.
Use these tips to avoid allergy triggers. If that’s not enough, there are effective treatments available to reduce your symptoms, including over-the-counter and prescription medicines and allergy immunotherapy (e.g., shots). Talk with your doctor about the best allergy prevention or treatment path for you.
For more information or to find a doctor, call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682) or visit Tennova.com.