A runny, itchy nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, swollen throat, and yes, itchy ear canals. These are just a few symptoms associated with dreaded spring allergies. Let yourself enjoy the start of the gloriously warm weather. Don’t allow allergies to stick around longer than they’re welcome.
So let’s talk about what could be causing your symptoms, and a few simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control.
Mites, Mold, and Pollen (Oh My!)
One of the most common household allergens this time of year is dust mites. Mites can be found in carpets, cloth furniture, bedding, and even stuffed toys. A tip for the not-so-faint-of-heart: you can check to see if dust mites are hanging around your house by using a piece of clear tape, collecting a few samples of dust, and examining that tape under a magnifying glass. See eight hairy legs on tiny translucent bodies? You’ve got yourself some dust mites.
Another nuisance is mold, which loves damp spaces like basements and bathrooms. Mold can grow wherever moisture builds, and warmer temperatures foster it further when spores begin to settle. So, come springtime warmth, dormant winter mold comes alive.
Last on our list: pollen. Spring means flower buds and blooming trees, but it also means pollen. As grass and other plants come back to life, tiny pollen grains are released into the air, and into your nose and eyes.
Do a Little Spring Cleaning
To reduce your exposure to the things that trigger your allergy symptoms, do a little spring cleaning around the house. However, it’s important to clean your space in the right way, ensuring you don’t kick up more dust or dander than necessary. To do this, dust first, then vacuum and work from top to bottom in order to trap dust.
When it comes to critters like dust mites in your bedding or furniture, there are few easy tricks to keep them at bay. Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 – 140°F), use a dehumidifier, and encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen-impermeable covers.
And always, always replace your HVAC and furnace filters on time (we recommend doing so every two to three months).
Take a Peek at the Pollen Count
Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there’s a lot of pollen in the air. The Weather Channel Allergy Tracker gives you a 7-day outlook to track pollen levels for trees, grass, and ragweed in your location.
If pollen levels are high, close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high. Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
Consult Your Doctor
For many people, keeping a clean house and avoiding allergens is enough to keep symptoms under control. But if your seasonal allergies are more bothersome, it may be time to consult your doctor for a more robust allergy-treatment plan.
The first thing your primary care physician will do is ask you a series of questions in order to confirm your seasonal allergies diagnosis. Then they’ll do one (or a few) of the following: suggest over the counter medication options, send you to your nearest pharmacy with an appropriate prescription, or order an allergy test and/or shots.
Pro Tip: Save on Care
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your doctor’s appointment, shots, and prescription costs can all be paid for using your HSA.
Oh, you can also now pay for OTC (over-the-counter) medicines like Zyrtec and Benadryl using your HSA. Yep, that’s right. The recently-announced CARES Act just reinstated these meds are eligible HSA expenses, which means more millions or perhaps billions of dollars in tax savings for individuals and families. Just swipe your Starship card or reimburse yourself from within the app later. It’s that easy.
Feel better and save money all at once? It doesn’t get much better than that.