Spring is here, regardless of Staten Island Chuck's prediction. But don't go rolling down the windows and dropping the rag top on the car just yet. Nothing welcomes the warm weather like allergies. Here are a few tips to save your sinuses and your productivity at work.
If you drive to work, your car is your second home. It's been estimated that people average up to 15 hours a week in their car each week. So the next time you take your car in for a tune-up, have your cabin air filters inspected. If you want to save a few bucks, take a look in your owner's manual on how to do it yourself. It's fairly easy to change and it makes a world of difference in air quality.
Plants are great for the home and office; they keep the air clean and fresh. But like all other plants, they take their orders from Mother Nature and blossom. Bring them outside for a week or two and wash all surfaces in your home or office to remove any residual pollen.
Wear a mask while spring cleaning your office or home. Dust, dust mites and
pollen get kicked around when cleaning and vacuuming. Use a wet towel to reduce airborne pollutants from traveling. At home, flip your mattress and clean under the bed.
While you're doing the office spring cleaning, put the air filtration and air conditioning systems on your to-do list as well. They'll run more efficient and increase efficiency in your employees.
Even though you may want to open windows to let in the spring air, keep them closed. This will limit pollen making its way into your home or office. Pollen can travel long distances and the levels in the air can vary from day-to-day. They tend to be highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Sometimes, something as simple as washing your hands and face can make a world of difference in relieving itchy, burning eyes and sneezing. When you get home change and wash your clothes; pollutants cling to clothes just as well as dirt. Use saline drops to rinse pollen from your eyes and gargle with mouthwash to rinse the back of your throat.
If you're really suffering, there are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can ease your symptoms. But just because it's OTC, still means consult your physician. Your doctor will recommend the best course of action and maybe recommend an allergist. If you have been prescribed medications, start them early and build up your resistance.
Taking these steps can lead to a great spring season. Spending a day safely spring cleaning will save you boxes of tissues and more time to enjoy the weather.
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Theodore Strange, MD, associate chairman of the Department Medicine and vice president of Medical Operations, SIUH South.