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Springtime brings warmer temperatures and blooming trees. But, for close to 1 in 3 Americans, it also brings annoying seasonal allergies.
Dr. Alexei Gonzalez Estrada, a Mayo Clinic allergy specialist, says there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
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Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says the the telltale signs of allergies are easy to spot.
"This includes itchy, water eyes; itchy, watery nose; nasal congestion," he says.
And pollen is the most common culprit.
"So pollen affects people in the springtime because that's when trees are pollinating. And that pollen flies miles and miles around the area," Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says. "And it's such a small particle that goes through your nose, and it affects your upper airway."
When you have a pollen allergy, your immune system identifies the pollen as harmful and essentially overreacts.
Dr. Gonzalez Estrada says there are over-the-counter and prescription medicines you can take to treat allergy symptoms, as well as getting allergy shots in more extreme cases.
But the easiest thing to do, he says, is avoid or limit exposure.
"Obviously, you can't live in a bubble, but air conditioning is going to be your friend," he says. "So keep your air conditioning on in your car, in your house."
Dr. Gonzalez Estrada also recommends people change their clothes after coming inside to remove pollen that might have stuck to you, and showering before bed to get rid of pollen that might stick in your hair.
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