Allergy season starting to kick in

April 26, 2013

The recent flooding in the Chicago area could make it even worse for some homeowners who are still cleaning up.

As the weather starts to warm up and signs of spring are popping up around us, if you have allergies, you're going to notice you're not feeling so great.

Experts say all the rain we have received so far is going to increase the pollen count.

That means sneezing, sniffling, wheezing and just feeling exhausted.

"It affects your day to day living because when you have allergies, you have so many symptoms that make you tired and that affect your sleep, school works and regular work," said Dr. Anju Peters, Northwestern Medicine.

And for people who have been dealing with flood waters in our area, allergy problems could be compounded because of the threat of mold.

So what do you do? The basic tips from the experts include don't exercise in the morning when pollen counts are sky high, keep your bedroom windows closed, start your medications before allergy season begins and one tip you might not be aware of stay away from alcohol.

"Alcohol is a vasodilator, so it makes the blood vessel leaky," Dr. Peters said. "So many times, especially after red wine or sometimes with the high hop content in beers, people will feel more stuffy or may feel more flushed."

This month's Prevention Magazine also lists several habits that make allergies worse.

Number 1: Stressful work deadlines.

Stress hormones may stimulate the production of blood proteins that cause allergic reactions.

Lack of sleep can make it worse so try to get plenty of rest.

Number 2: Is your washing machine hot enough?

If you find yourself sniffling in bed, crank your machine to the hottest setting.

A hot 104-degree setting can kill dust mites so you may need to boost your water heater.

Some machines have a "sanitize" setting that does the job.

Just make sure you don't burn yourself.

Number 3: Your orchid plant and others in the house could be making things worse.

Allergens in some plant sap can diffuse into the air and set you off.

The worst offenders according to Prevention besides orchids, fichus, yucca, palm, and fern varieties are most irritating to allergy prone people.

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