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How To Take Control Of Your Seasonal Allergies

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Can you feel it? Allergy season is here, which means you’re likely to hear a lot more sneezing outside in the Twin Cities.

We want you to breathe easy in the coming months, so we sought out an allergist to educate us on what we are doing right and wrong when it comes to allergies. Turns out, avoiding flowers and trees will only get you so far.

We learned that allergy triggers are everywhere, not just outside. Fending off seasonal allergies might not be as straight forward as taking your antihistamines and avoiding the outdoors. According to Fairview Allergist Dr. John Sweet, allergy triggers can be lurking in some unlikely places. That can even include your hair.

“Hair products can be an unexpected trigger in that most of them are just glue. That acts as a great pollen collector. Our hair alone without products traps a lot of pollens and molds. As a result if you’re not washing those off, you’re bringing them into the bed with you and putting them right next to your face,” Sweet said.

And that’s why your morning shower could be causing you to sneeze more. Dr. Sweet said save it for before bed.

“It’s a good idea to rinse off each night during your pollen season to prevent bringing those allergens into your home,” Sweet said.

People with seasonal allergies can flare up when they eat raw fruits or veggies, even if they aren’t allergic to them. It’s a phenomenon called oral allergy syndrome.

“For example, if you have a strong birch allergen, the protein in the birch that makes your eyes itchy and nose runny is similar to the protein we find in raw fruit like apples and plums. So when you eat them, your body thinks you’re eating birch pollen and you can get itchy lips, throat and some mild nasal congestions,” Sweet said.

And if you find yourself sneezing after a beer or glass of wine, there’s a reason for that. Alcohol can dilate your nasal blood vessels

“They can dilate more and that’s more of an opportunity for the pollens and allergens to enter through the nose and you may have a stronger reaction as a result,” said Sweet.

And go easy on the ceiling fan, especially if you don’t clean it.

“Ideally you would have air conditioning or HEPA air filtration to pull the allergens out of the air instead of stirring it up and making it much more likely for you to breathe in,” Sweet said.

Dr. Sweet passed along some tips for those with seasonal allergies: Identify what you’re allergic to so doctors can anticipate when you’re allergies will arrive. Start your medications early, don’t wait until you have symptoms to start taking them.

If you can’t get a grip on them, see an allergist.

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