How to Deal with Spring Allergies
Springtime brings warmer weather, opened windows and outdoor activities, but for allergy suffers it can also bring sneezing, runny noses and itchy, watery eyes. The major cause of spring allergies is the same thing that makes spring so visually appealing — all the trees and flowers are coming back into bloom. As these plants bloom they release pollen, a major allergen for many people.
In many parts of the country, avoiding springtime pollen isn’t an option, so allergy sufferers need to take precautions to keep their allergies as bay. If your eyes are particularly prone to spring allergies, take these steps to help prevent or treat itchy, watery and puffy eye.
Keep the House Clean
Opening the windows on a warm spring day is nearly irresistible, especially after a long winter. Unfortunately, open windows allows pollen into your home. To combat the rise of allergies step up your housekeeping.
If you can safely remove the window screens, take them out and thoroughly rinse them with a hose every few weeks (or more often if you’re in a high pollen area). If you can’t safely remove your window screens for cleaning, wipe them down as best you can with a damp rag.
Dust regularly, especially areas like the top of ceiling fan blades where dust and pollen can settle without notice. Pay special attention to wiping down window sills, panes and blinds. If you have curtains hanging near open windows, wash them regularly. This will help minimize the pollen that settles in your home and kicks up again with the next breeze.
When you’re dusting or cleaning your floors, be sure to use a damp cloth or mop, this will help trap the pollen and dust instead of stirring it up. If your allergies are bad, keep the windows shut as much as possible and definitely close them on particularly breezy days.
There are several types of eye drops that can help relieve eye allergy symptoms. Start by trying a simple saline or lubricating drop — also commonly called “artificial tears.” Even though your eyes may be watering a lot, eye drops have additional helpful properties. These gentle drops hydrate your eye and help wash away any irritants. If you keep the eye drops in a cool place, the chilled liquid may feel extra good on your angry eyes.
If that’s not enough, opt for an allergy relief or itchy eye relief specific drop. Allergy eye drops often contain an antihistamine and a redness reliever that specifically combat allergy symptoms.
For more information on which eye drop is best for your allergies and eyes, talk to your eye doctor. In some cases, your optometrist may even recommend prescription-strength antihistamine eye drops for additional symptom control and relief.
Don’t Rub your Eyes
It’s tempting to rub your itchy, watery eyes, but this action will likely make your symptoms worse and irritate your eyes even more.
Instead of itching your eyes, try rinsing them off with cool water or applying eye drops. If you need help remembering to leave your eyes alone, try wearing a pair of sunglasses to deter rubbing.
For some mild allergy suffers, taking an over-the-counter allergy medication may also help with allergy eye symptoms, with the added benefit of treating other symptoms as well.
If the itching is particularly bad, make an appointment with your allergist or eye doctor.
Wash Your Face and Shower
Using a cool, damp cloth can help sooth itchy allergy eyes. If you’re having an allergy attack and your eyes are really bothering you, try gently washing your eyes with cool water then lying down with a cloth over your eyes for a few minutes. This will help wash away the pollen that may be effecting you and the cool cloth will help tame inflammation.
If you’re outside for a prolonged period of time, take a shower when you get home and put your cloths in the washing machine (with the lid closed) instead of an open hamper. Pollen can cling to clothing and hair so you may unwittingly be bringing the allergen inside with you. Changing your cloths and washing your hair (especially if it’s longer) as soon as you get home will keep the pollen from spreading around your house and irritating your eyes.
About ICON Eyecare
ICON Eyecare is a leading surgical and medical eye care provider based out of Denver, CO. Since 1999, ICON has been building a Center of Ophthalmology Excellence empowered by an expert team of board certified physician specialists, the most advanced laser technology and a culture of quality and extraordinary patient care. In coordination with referring optometrists and physicians, ICON Eyecare specializes in treating patients with cataracts, advanced forms of glaucoma and other age and disease related conditions, while providing innovative options for patients seeking LASIK and cosmetic eye procedures. With 14 patient care centers located in Colorado and Texas, ICON Eyecare is expanding within the broader western U.S. region. For more information, please call (720) 524-1001, or visit iconeyecare.com.