(ARA) – As the seasons change, few can resist the urge to freshen up the house by cleaning and opening the windows. But letting a warm breeze into your home might also let other undesirable things, like allergens, in as well. More than 40 million Americans suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies in the United States, which makes it one of the country’s most common, yet overlooked health conditions. Allergies occur when a person’s body overreacts to “allergens,” often referred to as triggers. People can experience allergy triggers anytime throughout the year. Allergy symptoms may include sneezing; runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; and itchy nose or throat.
Allergies are the fifth-leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages. Avoiding contact with allergens, like pollen, will help reduce allergy symptoms significantly. Some tips to reduce pollen exposure and/or relieve allergy symptoms are:
* Stay indoors between 5 and 10 a.m., and when pollen counts are reported to be high, especially on windy days, when more pollen is carried through the air.
* Clean air filters frequently and air ducts at least once a year.
* Use high-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA).
* Keep windows closed and set the air conditioner to use recirculated air.
* Minimize exposure to wooded areas or gardens.
* Avoiding hanging laundry outdoors; this will prevent it from collecting airborne pollen.
* Talk to your allergist, pharmacist or other healthcare provider about taking an OTC antihistamine for indoor and/or outdoor allergy relief.
There are more than two million school days and four million missed or lost workdays each year, due to allergies. With proper management and patient education, allergy symptoms can be relieved.