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Keep the spring sniffles to a minimum

With the change of the seasons comes so much new life, flowers bloom, grass regains its green hue, leaves sprout and insects buzz. To an allergy sufferer, this is a list of just some of the triggers that spring brings to their sinuses.

Allergies are so common in the spring because all the pollen, sap and other botanicals have been dormant for all of winter, but burst to life at an amazing speed. This, along with the sudden temperature climb, can spell nothing but trouble to one of every five people in the United States who suffer from allergies.

School nurse at Cabrini, Susan Fitzgerald notices a rise in patient visits for allergies this time of year. “Right now tree pollens are really high because all the trees are getting their leaves, and then comes grasses and the other allergens,” Fitzgerald said.

Common allergy symptoms can include runny nose and congestion, itchy eyes, headaches and sometimes rashes. “When allergy season first starts, a lot of people feel flu-like; they have fatigue, sore throat, congestion and they just don’t feel well,” Fitzgerald said.

Plenty of people have allergies, chances are that the person sniffling next to you in class is not sick, but just has allergies. “We inherit our immune system, so if you have a family history of allergies, chances are that you have them too,” Fitzgerald said.

All of this sounds alarming but starting early in the season with prevention is the best way to save yourself from being an allergy sufferer. Allergy medicine is not something that works overnight, so to get maximum relief, start taking a daily tablet regularly, even if you do not feel symptoms yet and keep taking it.

“Avoiding what you’re allergic to is the best remedy,” Fitzgerald said. This means knowing what you are allergic to in nature and finding ways around it. Seasonal allergies differ from food and animal allergies because we don’t always know that we are being exposed to the allergen in the air.

Keeping a careful eye on sites such as will help you target the days where you might want to stay inside. Allergens can also affect you if your window is open overnight, and you may wake up with symptoms.

“Start with generic allergy medicines,” Fitzgerald said. They work the same as name brands, are much cheaper and often come in bulk quantities. “Everyone has their favorite or preference so it depends on you.”

Spring is such a beautiful time of year, and no one deserves to spend it sneezing or coughing for no reason. “It’s easier to keep allergies under control before they start rather than bring them back once they start,” Fitzgerald said. Allergies do not go away, so if you spent last spring sniffling, get yourself to a drug store to prevent your symptoms before they get worse.

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Tips to keep your seasonal allergies under control

-Tree pollen is worse on windy days, stay indoors if you know you are allergic.

-Shower before bed to get any allergens off your body.

-Keep your sleeping area covered if you keep the window open in the day to prevent allergens from laying dormant there.

-Consider different types of medicine, eye drops, nose sprays, decongestants and antihistamines.

-Track the pollen count in your area day to day.

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