Every Spring it seems that the news is filled with headlines predicting that it will be the worst allergy season ever. If you are sneezing and itching your eyes already this spring allergy season, you are not alone. 2012 is actually shaping up to be the worst year for allergy sufferers on record.
More than 35 million Americans suffer from pollen allergies, according to the FDA. Every year, the United States spends $21 billion on health costs related to allergies.
A study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA searched for the cause of a trend towards longer allergy seasons.
Researchers found that a delayed first frost of the fall season and a lengthening of the frost-free season combined with increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have contributed to a longer allergy season. Longer pollen seasons increase human exposure, the duration of symptoms and severity of symptoms.
“Studies have found that not only do [plants] create more pollen, it’s more potent,” said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and a practicing physician in Atlanta.
Thankfully, science has been steadily improving the ability to combat pollen allergy symptoms. “We can [now] pinpoint what triggers symptoms with specific testing, where in the past it was much more generalized,” said Fineman. “Now, it’s much more specific and accurate and sensitive. … Treatments are more targeted and allergy shots are much more effective because we know better dosages.”
So what can you do if you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from pollen allergies every year? Here are some helpful tips:
5 Tips for Avoiding Allergies:
- Get tested to find out exactly to what you are allergic.
- Consult your physician about possible treatments such as allergy shots and medication.
- Wash your hair and clothes regularly to get rid of pollen.
- If you have pets, groom them regularly because they can bring pollen indoors.
- Stay indoors as much as possible during pollen season to minimize your exposure. You’ll have much more relief in air conditioning. Try installing a programmable thermostat that works with your HVAC system to automatically filter the air in your home.
The Lux CAG1500 is unique among programmable thermostats in that it offers patented Clean Cycle technology, a feature that allows you to program your home’s fan to circulate air through the HVAC system’s filter, reducing airborne particles such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and other allergens. You can program the fan to run anywhere between 9 and 60 minutes each hour.
ADDITIONAL STEPS you can take to help reduce symptoms.
THE NATURAL CHOICE. I know it can be very difficult to function at work or at home as a parent when you’re feeling drowsy from allergy medication. Some people may want options other than always turning to medication for relief. And others may be pregnant or have other medical reasons for looking for natural remedies . Just be sure that no matter what route you take for relief, always consult your physician first.