Managing Spring Allergies

Dr. Robyn Kreiner, Strauss Allergy & Asthma (Commack & Westbury, NY)

Spring allergies are here and it is important to control allergy symptoms aggressively. Starting before the Spring pollen season is always the best advice but now that we are in the height of it, the best you can do is try to control it. The weather is getting nicer and you may find yourself wanting to get out for a walk and get some fresh air. For many people, the warmer weather is a relief but for those with seasonal allergies, you may be suffering.  It’s OKAY to STAY INDOORS during the high pollen count days.  Many of you may be sneezing, congested, and experiencing significant eye symptoms. Sneezing and coughing can propel respiratory droplets many feet and aid transmission of the Coronavirus in asymptomatic carriers.  Be aggressive with medication.  It’s not too late to start those meds. Reduce risk of an urgent care visit by doing a virtual Telemed visit with your pediatrician or allergist.

Over the Counter Products- What To Buy:

  1. Nasal steroid sprays: Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (mometasone), Rhinocort (budesonide), Flonase Sensimist are most effective when used daily
  2. Antihistamines- get the type that does not cause drowsiness: Allegra (fexofenadine), Claritin (loratadine), Xyzal (levocetirizine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine). Generic products are just as good and less expensive
  3. Eye drops: over the counter allergy eye drops contain the medication Ketotifen, Zaditor, Alaway, Pataday, and artificial tears are helpful. DON’T RUB YOUR EYES

What Not To Buy:

  • Allergy medications that can cause drowsiness such as Benadryl
  • Decongestants: tend to cause adverse effects such as insomnia, elevated blood pressure
  • Avoid topical decongestants such as Afrin, Naphcon, and Visine. Long term use can cause increased congestion and red eyes

Although it is nearly impossible to avoid all pollen, here are some tips to limit your exposure

  • First, keep the doors and windows in your home and cars shut to keep the pollen out.
  • Take a shower and wash your hair after outdoor activities so you don’t bring the pollen inside with you.
  • Use of the Netipot to flush the nose and sinuses out twice per day or PRN. (This gives your nose a shower on the inside and gets the allergens that the nose has filtered out of the air).  It comes with packets to mix with water. Be sure to use sterile water, not just tap or well water.
  • Wipe off pets when they come indoors and don’t let them sleep in your bed with you and transfer pollen.
  • We are still seeing COVID so being vigilant about wearing a mask when indicated and hand washing may be two-fold to help with those pollen allergies and help protect against COVID-19 and illness. 

If these do not make you comfortable, see your allergist/pediatrician to discuss other options. There is no need to be uncomfortable.