Five Ways to Get Ahead of Your Allergies

Seasonal

Five Ways to Get Ahead of Your Allergies

Allergies
Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Mar 11, 2020 - Updated Apr 21, 2021
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Medically Reviewed ByCarina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. This makes allergies the sixth leading cause of chronic sickness in America. Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies, but allergies may be managed with prevention and treatment including medications. Read on for five ways to get ahead of your allergies and how to save on allergy medications.

Symptoms of Spring Allergies

Spring allergies are also commonly called hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Symptoms of spring allergies result from your body’s immune system reacting to a foreign substance known as an allergen. Your body’s reaction results in common symptoms of allergies including:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itching
  • Runny nose
  • Sore, itchy throat
  • Red, watery, itchy eyes

In severe cases, allergies can also lead to hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, or an asthma attack. If you experience any of these severe allergic reactions, seek emergency medical treatment.

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Most Common Spring Allergies

The most common culprits responsible for spring allergies are pollen and molds, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Some grasses may also cause allergies if they begin blooming in the spring.

Pollen

Spring allergies are frequently caused by plants and trees releasing pollen into the air. Windy or breezy days cause the pollen to spread. Pollen may be invisible or may appear as a fine yellow dust that accumulates on your car, or outdoor furniture. If you’re sensitive to pollen, you may experience an allergic reaction and symptoms of allergies.

Though each region of the U.S. is different, allergies are frequently caused by pollen from spring-blooming trees such as:

  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Cyprus
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Poplar
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut
  • Western Red Cedar

Molds

Molds produce spores as the weather warms in the spring. These spores float through the air along with pollen. Molds are fungi. But, unlike mushrooms, molds do not have stems, leaves, or roots. There are many different types of mold. However, some tend to cause allergies more often than others. Common outdoor molds that cause spring allergies include:

  • Alternaria
  • Cladosporium
  • Hormodendrum
  • Grasses

As spring transitions to summer, the growth of various grasses is also responsible for allergies. Common grasses that cause allergy symptoms include:

  • Ragweed
  • Sagebrush
  • Pigweed
  • Tumbleweed

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Five Ways to Stay Ahead of Allergies

If you have experienced hay fever in the past, you’ll want to be prepared for the spring bloom. You can stay ahead of your allergies by:

  • Knowing what is causing your allergies
  • Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your home
  • Start taking your allergy medications or get your allergy shots
  • Monitor pollen counts
  • Stock up on medications in advance

Know What is Causing Your Allergies

If you haven’t already been tested for allergies, make an appointment with a health care provider now. There are several ways of testing for allergies, including traditional skin tests and a newer blood test. If you regularly take allergy medicine throughout the year, make sure to stop taking them a few days before you get tested; otherwise, your tests will show up negative.

Use an Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter in Your Home

Most home air purifiers will filter dust and pollen from the air. Adding a HEPA filter makes that filtration more efficient. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These filters capture large, medium, small, and microscopic airborne particulates.

Start taking your allergy medications or get your allergy shots

Start taking your allergy medications before allergy symptoms appear. If you wait until you already have symptoms, you’re reacting to the inflammation caused by the allergens. By pre-treating, your body doesn’t have a chance to get inflamed, meaning you won’t need the higher doses of medication that you would need after allergies start. You’ll still need to continue your medication throughout allergy season, but you’ll find yourself suffering less.

If your health care provider recommends allergy shots, schedule those as soon as possible. Allergy shots can also help reduce the severity of your allergy symptoms.

Monitor Pollen Counts

Most news stations provide daily pollen counts. Likewise, mobile apps and websites, such as The Weather Channel, often provide pollen counts. Pollen.com is also an excellent resource that keeps track of national pollen counts.

Stock Up On Allergy Medications in Advance

If you know you have allergies, be sure to get your prescription filled as early as possible. If you’re prescribed a brand drug, ask your health care provider for a generic alternative to save money. Then be sure to check the RxSaver website or free mobile app for a coupon. RxSaver can help you to save up to 85%.

Your health care provider can also write you a prescription for an over-the-counter medication, and you can use an RxSaver coupon for savings.

Talk to Your Doctor and Pharmacist About Allergy Medications

If spring brings unpleasant allergy symptoms, talk with your health care provider or your pharmacist about medications that may help. You may experience relief with over-the-counter medications, or your health care provider may think a prescription allergy medication will work better for you. Whether you treat your allergy symptoms with an OTC medicine or a prescription, be sure to use RxSaver to save on commonly prescribed allergy medications.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS., is a pharmacist who earned her PharmD from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She maintains an active practice, serving as a Board-Certified Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in New York City. Carina has also published in pharmacy journals and works as a consultant reviewing medical articles for publication.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.