Allergy Avoidance: Give Pollen the Brushoff to Avoid Seasonal Allergies

Ah, spring is in the air—and so are billions of grains of pollen released from grasses, trees and flowering plants. They’re the culprit behind seasonal allergies, the “hay fever” many people experience with its stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itching.

But allergies don’t have to keep you from firing up the lawn mower, trimming trees, working in the garden or building that new patio. Ewen Tseng, M.D., otolaryngologist on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Frisco, offers these tips to avoid allergens when you’re doing your spring landscaping:

- If you’ve been prescribed an oral antihistamine by your doctor, be sure to take it before heading outdoors.
- Wear protective clothing, including gloves, to reduce exposure to allergens and avoid transferring pollen from your hands to your eyes and nose.
- Wear a mask. “Think of the nose as a filter,” says Dr. Tseng. “For seasonal allergies, the nose is the first line of defense.”
- Wash your hands, change clothes and shower after you’re finished.

“An alternative to wearing a mask is nasal irrigation with saline [saltwater] to rinse allergens from the nose—it’s like cleaning your own air filter,” adds Dr. Tseng. Irrigation kits are available at pharmacies and grocery stores.

You could attempt to “allergy-proof” your yard and garden by selecting plants that pollinate through insects rather than by releasing pollen. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the wind-blown pollens from other trees and plants, which often travel long distances.

Dr. Tseng says, “If these avoidance strategies don’t help, check with your primary care doctor for other treatment options, which may include a referral to an ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist or an allergist.”

Dr. Tseng will be hosting a free seminar to answer questions about allergy causes, symptoms and treatment options from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 at the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco, Texas. To register for this event, or for more information about Baylor Medical Center at Frisco, call 214-407-5014, or visit

Source: Baylor Health Care System

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