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Springtime Allergies More Severe, Last Longer Now, Experts Say
Date:3/28/2013

gies rather than a cold, he added. And if you feel worse outside, but better when you come inside, you're probably experiencing allergies.

If you have symptoms year-round, you probably have indoor allergies as well, he said. Common indoor allergens are dust mites and pets, he said.

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing and an itchy feeling, sometimes in the ears or on the roof of the mouth, Lang said. A big symptom that people often don't attribute to allergies is fatigue, McGrath added.

"Allergies interfere with restful REM sleep, so someone with allergies can sleep eight, nine or even 10 hours and wake up feeling tired, sore and achy. Allergies can really wear people down and decrease their quality of life," said McGrath.

Both experts agreed that many people can be helped by avoiding pollens that trigger their allergies, and from using over-the-counter antihistamines. They also recommended beginning medications before symptoms begin. This gives you a "priming effect," said McGrath, and helps keep your allergies from worsening throughout the season.

Of the three aspects of allergy management -- avoidance, medication and immunotherapy -- avoidance is probably the most important, said Lang. So, during pollen season, he recommends closing your windows and keeping your air conditioners running to filter the air. "If you keep your windows open, your indoor environment is just like the outdoors," noted Lang.

This advice holds true for your car too. Close car windows, and keep the convertible top up.

Also, exercise early or late in the day when pollen counts are lower.

"One thing people overlook is their hair," McGrath said. "The static from your hair attracts pollens and molds. At night, when you lay down, those pollens and molds are released onto your pillowcases. If you can, it's a good idea to wash your hair at night. Otherwise, run a damp cloth over your hair before you get into bed."

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