Preparing for Spring Allergies

While most people are happy for the return of warmer temperatures, for some, warmer temperatures also mean the return of itchy, watery eyes, runny noses and sinus headaches. Springtime allergies can feel miserable, but there are some preparations you can do to help you keep a clear head without a lot of medicine.

What Is an Allergy?

Whether you experience allergies in the spring or fall…or in response to something you eat or touch, all allergies are immune system responses. The body interprets allergens, like pollens, as pathogenic threats and responds by producing histamines to incite an inflammatory reaction. The body produces excess mucus and tears as a way to flush out the pathogens and/or prevent them from infiltrating the system.

Common Spring Allergies

The high desert has a number of plants that trigger springtime allergies, including:

  • Ash
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Juniper

Albuquerque’s springtime winds often worsen allergy conditions because everything gets whipped up in the air and with more dust, too.

How to Prepare for Spring Allergies

Many people rely on allergy medications to relieve symptoms, but many medications can leave you feeling tired and groggy or, conversely, “amped up.” Instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet, try some preventative allergy strategies, such as:

  • Keep windows and doors closed to minimize allergens in your home or car
  • Pay attention to pollen counts and try to avoid outdoor activities during days and/or times when pollen counts are the highest
  • Wash your face and hair before bed to remove pollen on your hair and skin
  • Wash your bedding regularly in hot water to remove pollen that comes in on your skin and clothes
  • Do a nasal rinse to gently flush your sinuses to remove pollen, excess mucus and relieve irritation

For people with severe allergies, turning on the air conditioning early can help keep your home free of pollens. Before turning on your AC or swamp cooler for the season, though, have ducts and filters cleaned to make sure you are not recirculating last year’s dust and pollen buildup.