Don’t Let Allergies Keep You From Enjoying Our Beautiful Superbloom

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Don’t Let Allergies

Keep You From Enjoying Our Beautiful Superbloom

Springtime allergies (“hay fever”) keep up to 40% of our population from enjoying the beautiful “superbloom” that followed this year’s rainy weather. Sneezing, itchy watery eyes and nose, stuffy nose, postnasal drip — these are not much fun when you are trying to hike the trails of Palos Verdes or take your dog for a walk. These symptoms are due to histamine that is released into the nasal lining with exposure to pollens in the air.

Over the counter non-sedating antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, or Xyzal offer 24 hour coverage of allergy symptoms without causing grogginess. Nasal steroid sprays available at local grocery or drug stores can also reduce symptoms if used regularly and with proper technique.  Look down and spray into the nose while holding your breath, aiming slightly  toward the sides where congestion begins; do not look up or sniff in harshly, as this will draw the liquid into your throat — this is not only uncomfortable but will not treat the swollen nasal lining where it needs to reach in order to be effective.

While medications can reduce symptoms, the importance of controlling pollen exposure in your home is often forgotten. The more exposure to the offending pollen, the more difficult it will be  to completely suppress symptoms. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a bubble and avoid  the outdoors, though. Remember, pollens follow you in on your clothing, shoes, and hair. They easily can end up on your pillow and bedding, where you will breathe these all night long.

 

Eliminating indoor nighttime exposure to pollens may help you to enjoy a few hours of outdoor exposure and allow antihistamines to be more effective. This means changing your clothes when you return home from outdoor activities, including gardening, hiking, cycling, etc. Avoid putting anything on your bed that has been outdoors, like backpacks, jackets, or clothes you were wearing, as this will spread pollen onto your bedding. Wash your hair and shower off before lying down in your bed. If you suspect the bedding has been contaminated with pollen from open windows on windy days, start fresh with clean sheets and frequent changes of your pillowcase.

If allergy symptoms are too severe to manage with over the counter medications and pollen control in the home, a 20 minute allergy skin test can identify the culprits, and allow for  targeted treatment that builds tolerance over time, called immunotherapy (commonly known as “allergy shots”). While this technique has been around for the past century, recent advances have fine tuned the extracts used to allow for ideal customized dosing that matches the needs of your specific sensitivities.

So take charge of your allergies and get back to doing the outdoor things you love! Palos Verdes is one of the most beautiful, rural environments in Southern California, and we are so lucky to have this at our doorstep. Enjoy, and hope to see you out there!

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Schoettler and her family are long-time residents of Palos Verdes. As an allergy/immunology specialist at South Bay Allergy and Asthma with offices in Torrance and El Segundo, she and her medical team have helped thousands of South Bay residents overcome debilitating allergies and get back to enjoying their favorite outdoor activities. Having raised  two children on the peninsula and sitting on the sidelines of many a grassy soccer field, she has a special place in her heart for helping other soccer moms, dads, and kids enjoy the game without sniffling, wheezing and sneezing! Having suffered from allergies herself, she has great empathy for those who are struggling with this condition.