No matter how you feel about winter, just about everyone looks forward to the arrival of spring. As pleasant as the warm weather, green trees and blooming flowers are, however, they have an unfortunate downside for those with seasonal allergies.

What we usually call hay fever is the result of trees, grasses and other plants releasing a lot of pollen into the air during the spring months. Allergies to these pollens are pretty common and can range from mildly annoying to very uncomfortable.

If you haven’t dealt with hay fever much in the past, it can be easy to initially confuse the symptoms with those of a cold. Excessive sneezing and itchy eyes are two indicators, and if it lasts more than a few days, it’s almost definitely allergies. If you have an allergy sufferer in your house, follow these guidelines to minimize symptoms.

Keep the Windows Closed

Come springtime, it’s second nature to throw open the windows and air out your home. Unfortunately, the fresh air is going to have to wait. Those refreshing breezes bring all that pollen right inside. Keep your home a refuge for your family’s allergy sufferers and keep the windows closed until the pollen counts drop, usually around the beginning of summer. This rule holds true for the car too.

Change and Wash Up After Being Out

We can also bring pollen into the house on our bodies and clothing, so anyone suffering from seasonal allergies should change their clothes and wash their hands and face when they come inside. To keep as much pollen out of your home as possible, you may want to consider having everyone in the family change their clothes when they come inside as well. Finally, minimize the time your child spends in his or her bedroom during the day and make sure there’s a bath or shower before bedtime.

Pay Attention to Pollen Counts

Certain times of day and weather conditions have a lot more pollen in the air than others. Early in the morning, from around 5am to 10am, is the worst time for pollen. Likewise, dry and windy conditions increase the amount of pollen in the air. The best time to head outdoors is after heavy rain and on cooler afternoons. A quick online search will turn up a number of sites that provide daily pollen counts and forecasts. Start with your go-to weather site. Your children, and your whole family, should definitely still get outside and get active, but it always helps to be aware.

Take Medicine Consistently

The basic rule of allergy medicine is to take it early and consistently. Unlike many other medications, you should start taking allergy medicine well before any symptoms appear. They require time to build up in your system to be effective, so have your allergy sufferer start taking their medicine a few weeks before allergy season is predicted to start. It will vary slightly from year to year, but is usually around the beginning of April, so you should be preparing for it by the middle of March. Once your child starts taking their medicine, they should take it consistently every day until the season is over. There are a variety of different medicines available, and not all of them work for everyone. If you find something that works right away, stick with it. If it doesn’t seem to be working, make an appointment and we can help you find something that will.