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May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Learn how you can prevent these attacks in your home.

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Learn about what you can to do prevent these attacks in your home. 

Winter Cold – or Spring Allergies?

The warmer than average temperatures this winter have led trees to release their pollen into the air earlier than usual. That’s great if you’re a lonely tree, but not so great if you’re a person who suffers from seasonal plant allergies, also known as hay fever.

Feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu? It might be allergies if -

  • Your symptoms kicked in fast. (Colds take days.)
  • Symptoms last longer than a week
  • You don’t have fever or aches.
  • Your nose is running and it’s clear.

You can help alleviate allergy symptoms by avoiding the outdoors during times when pollen counts are highest, usually early and late in the day. Following pollen counts in the news can help you predict high levels, too.

You can also help prevent allergy symptoms by:

  • Keeping windows closed in your house and car and running the air conditioner
  • Avoiding mowing grass and doing other yard work. If you have to do yard work, wear a mask that filters pollen.
  • Trying certain over-the-counter medication. Be extra careful when giving allergy medication to children.

Learn more about dealing with hay fever.

Common Allergy Myths Busted

Allergy symptoms can include sneezing, and itchy eyes and nose, which are similar to the common cold. Unlike colds, allergies are caused by allergens or things that aggravate your immune system, such as grass and tree pollen, and are not contagious. While colds only last about a week, allergies can last for up to six weeks.

Over time, many people have created their own explanations for the best ways to deal with their allergies. The latest news from MedlinePlus tells the real deal about some allergy myths. Here are the facts:

  • Skin tests are more sensitive than blood tests for diagnosing allergies
  • Prescription medicines are more effective in controlling an allergy-related stuffy nose than over-the-counter antihistamines.
  • Eating local honey will not combat spring allergies
  • Over time, allergy shots may be less costly than taking medicine to relieve allergy symptoms

You can take steps to make the spring allergy season more bearable. According to the FDA, you should:

  • Check the pollen counts and avoid going out when they are high. During the spring, pollen levels are highest in the evening
  • See a doctor if your symptoms interfere with your ability to function or last for a long period.
  • Discuss the possibility of allergy shots with your doctor, if you suffer from severe allergies.

Find more tips on when to get treated for spring allergies.