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Spring 

Most people can hardly wait for the arrival of spring, following the cough, cold and flu season, cold weather and being cooped up indoors from the cold.

But along with the warm weather comes the pollens and molds that plague those of us with seasonal allergies.

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TREE POLLEN
Most commonly the earliest pollen triggers come from trees.

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MOLDS
Moulds emerge from their winter time dormant state at first thaw in the spring.


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TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR ALLERGY SEASON
People with seasonal allergies often forget about their plight over the winter months. Before they can fully enjoy the spring and summer weather, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes zero in to spoil the fun.

What can allergy sufferers do to prepare for outdoor allergy season?

Here are seven tips:

1) Visit your doctor. Talk to your doctor about starting your allergy medications before the pollens and molds get underway. Non-drowsy antihistamines are preferred. Prescription nasal sprays (nasal steroids) have become key players in managing nasal allergies. They should also be started a 1-2 weeks before your pollen season begins.

2) Keep windows and doors shut at home. Your screens will not keep out those tiny pollens and moulds that may find their way to your eyes and nose even while inside the house. Consider running the a/c earlier in the year if it gets stuffy.

3) Keep the car windows up. When in your car, keep your windows up. If you can adjust your vent to re-circulate inter-compartment air, do it! Sorry, this also means keeping the sunroof closed.

4) Time outdoor activities properly. Try to avoid outdoor activities in the early and mid-morning hours. Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning.

5) Take your antihistamines. If yard work is unavoidable, take your antihistamine at least two hours before going out if it is a once or twice daily pill. Consider wearing a dust mask and glasses while working. Remove your clothing and take a shower immediately after going back in the house.

6) Know your allergens. If you have some allergy symptoms during winter months you are probably allergic to dust mite, pets or mold spores. Indoor environmental controls may help you during the outdoor allergy seasons by reducing your response to these indoor triggers overnight. Sometimes indoor triggers are more of a problem when the outdoor allergens pick up (a process called priming).

7) Wash out your nose. Keep some nasal saline around to rinse out your nasal passages two or three times a day when allergy symptoms are more active. Many people have discovered that sinus drainage and congestion is greatly reduced by once or twice daily nasal rinses with saline.