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Optimize your environment to fight springtime allergies

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BATON ROUGE - Local pediatrician from the Baton Rouge Clinic, Dr. Mindy Calandro, appeared on News 2 at 4 Thursday to talk about a topic that is certainly in bloom: allergies.

The recent burst of spring-like weather in Baton Rouge means that flowers have begun to bud and trees are already blooming, and if you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you're seeing a downside to the beautiful conditions.

Seasonal allergies - also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis - can really ruin one's day. It means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other irritating symptoms that can combine forces to create misery. You don't have to just push through these issues though as there are active ways you can take control of your allergies.

Start by reducing your exposure to things that trigger your allergies as much as is possible. To reduce exposure:

-Stay indoors on dry, windy days - the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
-Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
-Remove clothes you've worn outside; you may also want to shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
-Don't hang laundry outside - pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
-Wear a dust mask if you do outside chores.

Seasonal allergies flare up when there are large quantities of pollen in the air. If you suffer from pollen allergies, it is vitally important to reduce your exposure in the following ways:

-Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
-If high pollen counts are in the forecast, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
-Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
-Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

Finally, take control of your spring time sneezing by controlling your indoor environment. While there isn't a miracle product on the market that can totally eliminate airborne allergens from the interior of your home, you can follow these suggestions to try to improve your situation:

-Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
-If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
-Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
-Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
-Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

Beyond these steps, there is, of course, a wide range of medications that can be taken to help you cope with allergies. Expect more from Dr. Calandro on the subject in the future.



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