Ah, spring. The weather warms up, trees and flowers bloom and seasonal allergies strike once again. If you're one of the more than 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies, you know the misery they can bring. Runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing fits and sinus pressure are just some of the annoying symptoms you may experience. But you don't have to resign yourself to dealing with allergies year after year. There are steps you can take to minimize allergy symptoms and enjoy the outdoors again.
Know when allergy season begins
It’s important to understand when allergy season starts in your area. In most parts of the country, tree pollen is often the culprit of springtime allergies. Grass pollen takes over in late spring and early summer. Ragweed pollen peaks in late summer and early fall, however, some warmer areas may have triggering allergens like pollen year-round. Knowing the typical pollen calendar for your region helps you prepare.
Understand which allergies affect you
Find out which specific allergens are problematic for you. Common outdoor allergy triggers include tree pollen (oak, birch, ash), grass pollen, ragweed pollen, mold spores and animal dander.
You can get tested to pinpoint your environmental allergen triggers with Labcorp OnDemand's Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test. This blood test measures immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which are released by the body in response to allergens. These are 13 indoor and outdoor allergens covered by the test:
- Dust mite (D pteronyssinus)
- Dust mite (D farinae)
- Cat dander
- Dog dander
- Mouse urine
- Bermuda grass
- Kentucky bluegrass
- German cockroach
- White oak
- American elm
- Short ragweed
- English plantain (lamb’s tongue)
- Sheep sorrel
Understanding what you're allergic to is empowering and allows you to take steps to avoid exposure and manage allergy symptoms effectively.
Limit contact with pollen and mold spores during allergy season
You can’t always avoid allergies, but you can take precautions to curb your exposure to allergens that trigger you.
On high pollen count days, for example, stay indoors as much as possible and keep windows closed. After spending time outdoors, shower and change clothes to prevent bringing allergens inside. Additionally, consider wearing a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth when gardening or mowing the lawn. HEPA air filters can also help remove allergens circulating indoors.
Consider taking allergy medication
Finally, along with lifestyle changes and preventing exposure to environmental allergens, your healthcare provider may advise taking an over the counter or prescription allergy medications that may reduce symptoms. Nasal sprays, antihistamines and allergy shots are options to consider after consulting with your healthcare provider.
Take control today
Don't let seasonal allergies keep you stuck inside. Understand the common triggers, get tested with Labcorp OnDemand Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test to identify your allergens, take precautions to limit exposure to allergens and talk to your provider about additional symptom relief through potential allergy medication as needed. However, IgE testing is not considered sufficient to diagnose an allergy on its own. Results from this test should be interpreted in the context of your medical history with a healthcare provider or an allergist.
With the right preparation and treatment, you can minimize allergy symptoms and enjoy the outdoors again.