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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Earlier allergy season

Allergy season has come in like a lion, a month or more early, to many parts of the U.S. What’s causing this early arrival of the pollen fairy?

Mild winter weather has brought an early allergy season to many parts of the U.S. Higher-than-normal January temperatures were recorded globally, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Average January temperatures tied with 1995 as the ninth-warmest since record keeping began in 1880.

Climate change and warmer temperatures may be messing with Mother Nature and producing longer and earlier allergy seasons. Trees, blooming earlier than in the past, are sending allergy sufferers by the scores to doctors’ offices.

Allergy symptoms include: itchy nose, ears and throat (especially the palate or roof of the mouth); clear, thin, watery nasal discharge; no fever; and rapid multiple sneezes.

What can allergy sufferers do to minimize their suffering?

Spring cleaning

Start spring cleaning early. Dust and mold can add to your allergy misery.

Allergy medication

Take your allergy medication regularly or at least, 30 minutes before going outside for an activity. Some people fair better if they start taking medication long before their symptoms develop.

Nasal irrigation

Practice nasal irrigation with a Neti Pot or other similar devices. Washing your nasal passages with a warm saline solution can lessen allergy symptoms. Remember to heed recent warnings about using distilled water or boiled tap water for your saline solution.

Saline nasal sprays

Keep your nasal passages moist with a simple saline nasal spray. A moist nasal environment helps keep the nose hairs doing their job.

Windows, doors

Keep windows and doors shut, especially when pollen counts are high. Use your air conditioner instead if it gets hot.

Baby your eyes

Keep pollen out of your eyes by wearing big sunglasses. Try cool compresses to soothe allergy eyes.


Wash your bedding at least twice a month in hot water.

Shower often

Shower and wash your hair after outdoor activity as pollens cling to your hair and skin.

Make your head less pollen friendly

Wearing a large-brimmed hat may keep pollen from sticking to your hair. Avoid using sticky hair products, like gel.

Car windows

Keep car windows closed when driving. Use the air conditioner instead.

Outdoor chores

Turn the lawn mowing and gardening over to someone else when pollen counts are a nuisance.

Monitor pollen counts

Avoid going outside when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen times are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You can monitor pollen counts by going to www.aaaai.org/nab.

See a doctor

Consider seeing a doctor if symptoms are not manageable.


If possible, keep pets out of your bedroom and off your furniture. Pollens stick to their fur.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sheree Welshimer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sheree Welshimer for details.

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