Spring is a busy time of year for allergists in Washington DC. While many of us enjoy the fresh rain, bright flowers, and warmer weather, springtime also means millions of Americans suffering from allergies. Washington DC in particular can be a harrowing environment, with a wide variety of flora from across the nation, in conjunction with infrastructure dust and Washington beltway traffic exhaust. In addition, Washington, DC was built on a swamp and there is an abundance of mold spores all year long in the metropolitan area. With help from the right DC allergist, however, you can still get outdoors and enjoy life in our beautiful city. Here are a few tips to help along the way.
- Know the pollen count: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. Understanding when pollen is at its peak is sure to help you minimize your allergic symptoms. Stay inside during those times if at all possible. Unfortunately, most springtime trees and grasses pollinate between 5:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. when we are typically on our way to work.
- Avoid tracking pollen into your home: Many of us enjoy going for a morning jog when the weather is nice. However, being outdoors at this time causes pollen to get on to your clothes, skin, and hair. Showering immediately upon returning indoors can minimize the outside element in your home. You need not shampoo your hair, just rinsing will do. Furthermore, if you jog with your pets, or walk your dog, pollen may get trapped in their fur as well. Many pet owners fear they are allergic to their dogs’ hair, when it may in fact be the pollen trapped in the animal fur.
- Keep the windows closed: When the pollen count is high, it is best to keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on. Avoid fans that sit in the window, as they may draw pollen in and swirl it around.
- Avoid going outside when it is windy: Most pollens that cause allergy symptoms in allergy sufferers are light in weight and are transported through the air by the wind. When it is windy, you are more likely to inhale more pollen and thus develop more symptoms.
- Take allergy medications beforehand: Many allergy patients go outside thinking that their symptoms will not flare up that day. This is usually wishful thinking. If you know you suffer from pollen allergies and have to go outdoors, take your medications prior to going outside so that the medication has time to work before you come in contact with the pollen. You can purchase many medications over-the-counter or through a prescription from your allergist in Washington DC.
- Wear a mask: We know pollen masks are not the height of Spring fashion, however, we also know that you cannot always avoid the outdoors. When you have to venture outdoors on high pollen count days, a mask from your local gardening or hardware store can help filter and reduce the pollen you inhale. Masks are also helpful when gardening, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, etc.
- See our Washington DC allergists about allergy immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, or “allergy shots,” help patients build up a tolerance for allergens, much like a vaccine. Regular allergy shots over an average of 3-5 years can drastically reduce one’s allergic symptoms for many pollen seasons to come.
If you are looking for allergy relief this season, consider the above advice. The board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy have been treating both children and adults with allergies and asthma for more than 50 years. For more information on finding allergy relief, look around our website, or schedule an appointment with our Washington DC allergist today. We have offices in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tyson’s Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA all with on-site parking. The Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible with free shuttle service between our McLean office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line. Please call us for an appointment or alternatively, you can also click Request an Appointment and we will answer you within 24 hours on the next business day. At Black & Kletz Allergy, we strive to provide high quality healthcare in a convenient, friendly, and professional setting.