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Beat the Spring Allergies and Enjoy the Blooms in Southwest Idaho!

9th May, 2023 | Published by Saltzer Health

Man sneezing due to allergies

Springtime in Southwest Idaho brings a delightful change in weather and a vibrant display of blooming flowers and budding trees. However, for many people, it also marks the beginning of allergy season. With guidance from Saltzer Health care providers, let’s take a look at spring allergies, their common symptoms, and what you can do to manage them.

How Do I Know if I Have Spring Allergies?

According to Dr. Rourke Yeakley from Saltzer Health’s Ten Mile Clinic, if your symptoms persist, it’s likely you’re dealing with allergies. Seasonal allergies affect about 8% of Americans over the age of 18. Common symptoms of hay fever, or seasonal allergies, include:

  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, sinuses, or ear canals
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Ear congestion
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Headache
  • Wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

What Causes Spring Allergies in Southwest Idaho?

Pollen is the primary culprit behind spring allergies. Pollen comes from a variety of plants and can easily float through the air. In Southwest Idaho, common pollens that trigger hay fever include:

  • Trees (birch, cottonwood, box elder, elm, maple, and oak)
  • Grasses (Timothy, Johnson, and Bermuda)
  • Weeds (ragweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle, and plantain)

See Boise’s Pollen Index

How Can I Prevent Allergies from Ruining My Spring?

While dealing with seasonal allergies can be frustrating, there are several steps you can take to prevent and ease hay fever symptoms:

  1. Avoid going outdoors when pollen counts are high. Check your local weather for pollen counts in the morning.
  2. Seal up your house. Keep your doors and windows shut.
  3. Replace the air filters on your furnace and air conditioner regularly.
  4. Wash your hair and face after spending a long period of time outside. This helps to clear out pollen and other allergens.
  5. Vacuum and dust your house regularly. Wear a mask while cleaning to protect yourself from allergens in the air.

What Can I Do to Treat My Allergies?

Jonathan Subaitani, lead physician assistant at Saltzer Health, recommends starting with over-the-counter medications to manage allergy symptoms. If symptoms persist after 5-7 days, make an appointment with a healthcare provider. Over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, can help reduce sneezing, itching, and congestion.

Some patients may find relief with nasal sprays, particularly corticosteroid sprays, which can help decongest or ease inflammation. Antihistamine eye drops may also help relieve itchy or watery eyes.

When Should I See a Healthcare Provider for My Allergies?

Dr. Yeakley advises discussing your allergies with a doctor if over-the-counter medications do not provide relief. A healthcare provider can recommend prescription medications to help you feel better. It’s particularly important to consult a healthcare provider if you have other health issues, such as asthma, which can become dangerous when combined with allergies.

In some cases, patients may be diagnosed with viruses that mimic seasonal allergies. If you suspect this may be the case, it’s important to get evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Considering Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy

If your allergy symptoms are severe, an allergist can perform allergy testing and discuss a more targeted approach, including allergy immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots. These shots can help reduce your sensitivity to allergens over time, making your symptoms more manageable.

Need an Exam? Visit Saltzer Health Urgent Care Today

If you need an exam to help determine the cause of your symptoms or to discuss treatment options for your allergies, feel free to walk in to any Saltzer Health Urgent Care clinic today or call 208-463-3000 to schedule an appointment. Don’t let spring allergies keep you from enjoying the beauty of Southwest Idaho!

Highlighted Providers

Rourke M. Yeakley

Rourke M. Yeakley

Chief Innovation Officer/Urgent care Medical Director MD, MHA

Specialties: Urgent Care