Pollen Invasion: How to fight back when allergies attack

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DENVER (KDVR) — Itchy eyes. Sneezing. Scratchy throat. If you’re feeling those things right now, you’re not alone. Allergy season is in full swing!

The fresh blooms on trees and flowers might be beautiful, but they may also have you feeling miserable.

Pollen counts have been on the rise over the last month. But what is the best way to combat those allergies that seem to be attacking you?

Preventative maintenance

  • If you know that seasonal allergies cause you problems, start taking allergy medication before your allergies get out of control.
  • Even though it might feel nice to keep your windows open at night, doing so may make your allergies worse. If you suffer from allergies, closing your windows may help to keep those irritants out of your house.
  • Even though many people are ditching masks after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, research shows wearing a mask may help with seasonal allergies. You can also wear a scarf around your nose and mouth, especially during windy days where pollen and other allergens might be flying around
  • Keep an eye on pollen counts

What medicine can help?

Mayo Clinic says there are several over-the-counter medications you can take to help ease symptoms related to allergies:

  • Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
  • Decongestants: Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
  • Nasal spray: Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
  • Combination medications: Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).

Some extreme allergy sufferers may need to see a doctor about getting allergy shots.

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