April showers bring May flowers. And pollen. And allergies.

It’s that time of year again: longer days, spring blossoms, and pollen. If you have allergies, you know the misery of sneezing fits, runny nose, itchy eyes, and the interruption of daily activities. And you’re not alone.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 35 million Americans suffer from “upper respiratory tract symptoms that are allergic reactions to airborne allergens. Pollen allergy, commonly called hay fever, is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States.” The organization goes on to state that asthma provoked by airborne allergens affects 11 million Americans and that “allergic diseases are among the major causes of illness and disability in the United States, affecting as many as 40 to 50 million Americans.”

Not a bright picture. However, there are a few things you can do to mitigate those exasperating symptoms:

  • See an allergist. A physician with specific training can assess your exact needs and recommend treatment that may include immunotherapy, or allergy shots.
  • Prepare yourself for the great outdoors. If you plan on working in your garden, where you’ll no doubt be kicking up plenty of pollen
    • take a preemptive antihistamine 30 minutes before you go out
    • wear a face mask specifically designed to filter out pollen
    • wash your clothes and shower as soon as you come back inside
  • If practical, remove the source of the irritant. Wall-to-wall carpeting is infamous for harboring dust mites and pet dander. Hard floors with washable area rugs are much kinder to your sinuses.
  • Reduce your exposure to passive cigarette smoke.
  • Last but not least, consider an air purifying system for your home.

With house wraps, improved insulation products, and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, homes are becoming more airtight than ever. Unfortunately that also means the allergens that do come inside your home can become trapped there, cycling through your ductwork. But the technology behind an air purifying system can turn allergen-packed air into clean air.

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