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5 ways to keep spring allergies in check

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Ready to get outdoors, take in a big, deep breath and enjoy nature? Probably not if you are one of more than 50 million people who suffer from various allergies.
 
Springtime can bring on a heyday of symptoms for allergy sufferers – from itchy, watery eyes and nose to a scratchy throat and sneezing. Even ear congestion, fatigue and skin rashes can be signs of an allergic reaction.
 
That's because those beautiful blooming flowers, blossoming trees, green grasses and pesky weeds release pollen that sends immune systems haywire. Windy days make things worse by blowing pollen around. Rainy days wash away allergens and bring temporary relief.
 
There's no sure cure for springtime allergies. But you can take steps to curb your misery and enjoy the season. Here's how to keep symptoms under control and breathe easy these days.
 
Check pollen levels. Keep an eye on your local pollen and mold count, available on the local news or weather websites. Try to stay indoors in the morning when pollen levels tend to be at their peak.
 
Keep windows and doors closed. Stop pollen from entering your home through open doors and windows. When the pollen count is high, keep the house closed as much as possible. Try an air purifier to clean inside air.
 
Shower often. Take a shower and wash your clothes when you come in from the outdoors. That helps to eliminate pollens that can collect in your hair and on clothes.
 
Take allergy medicine. Get short-term relief with over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications, like antihistamines decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops. Check with your healthcare provider before taking any allergy medicine to make sure it's safe for you.
 
Try natural home remedies. Use a nasal irrigation system or a neti pot to open up your sinus passages and provide limited relief. Be sure to regularly clean the bottle or pot to avoid contamination that can do more harm than good. Check with your healthcare provider before using sinus rinses, since herbs can cause side effects if you have certain health conditions.
 
If you've tried these tips and still struggle with spring allergies, talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to get relief and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, nature and sunshine. Need a primary care provider? All Goshen Physicians Family Medicine offices are welcoming new patients.

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