girl sneezing from allergies

8 Essential Tips to Manage Grass Allergies

It happens every late spring and early summer. Our Salt Lake City ENT doctors see many patients in our offices complaining about seasonal allergy symptoms.

Their noses are stuffed up.

Their throats feel scratchy.

They’re sneezing a lot.

They’re suffering from hay fever or what we know as seasonal allergies.

Spring and summer is peak allergy season in Utah as trees, flowers and grasses all pollinate. At the same time, mild day and night temperatures persuade people to open their windows to let in the “fresh air.”

Opening windows sounds like a great idea. But it’s the absolute wrong idea if you suffer from seasonal allergies.

Fortunately, allergy relief is available for grass allergy sufferers and the Ear, Nose and Throat Center can treat seasonal allergies in our Draper and Salt Lake City offices.

But if you follow these 8 tips to prevent grass allergies below, you may not need to visit a Utah allergist to control your allergies.

1. Don’t open windows of your home during peak pollen season

It’s tempting to open your window at night. But an open window near your bed is a direct path to invite pollen into your home. Take our advice and run the air conditioner instead of opening windows during peak allergy season and you’ll dramatically cut down your sneezing. Plus, you’ll sleep a whole lot better.

2. Don’t drive with your car windows open

Pollen doesn’t discriminate; it goes wherever the wind blows. Keep your windows closed while driving and you and your nose will be much happier.

3. Don’t line-dry your clothing

Clothes dryers aren’t just fast and convenient; clothes dryers also help reduce exposure to grass pollen. Line-dried clothes have that “fresh” smell but they may also be covered with pollen.

4. Don’t mow your lawn without a mask

Cutting the lawn can be very satisfying because you see instant results. But mow your lawn during peak grass allergy season and you may instantly aggravate and activate your allergies. A simple mask you can purchase at Home Depot will help minimize grass pollen exposure. You can also consider paying someone to mow your grass during allergy season. Sure, it will cost a bit more, but you’ll save yourself the aggravation of grass allergies.

5. Cut your grass short

You’ve probably noticed that when grass gets longer, you see seeds at the tips of the blades. Those seeds release pollen and the fewer the seeds, the less likely you are to suffer a grass allergy outbreak.

6. Stay indoors between 5:00 am and 10:00 am

While a morning walk or run can prove refreshing, winds are often blowing in the early-morning hours and pollen levels can be at their highest. Pollen levels drop in the late afternoon or early evening and that’s the better time to get outside to work or play during grass allergy season.

7. Bathe your pets often during allergy season

Grass pollen easily attaches to the coats or hair of pets. If your dog has been rolling around on the grass, it’s going to bring pollen into your home. A quick bath can help prevent grass allergies later.

8. Shower immediately after working or exercising outdoors

Like your pet, if you’re working in the yard or exercising outside, grass pollen will find its way into your hair and clothing. A quick shower and change of clothes is a good way to prevent pollen from spreading through your house.

Contact an ENT Doctor or Allergist with Questions

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Utah or a local allergist or ENT doctor to learn about your options to test for allergies and treat and prevent grass allergies. Our Utah allergy doctors are available at 801-328-2522.

Man sneezing from the flu

Maintain Healthy Sinuses

Cold and flu season peaks during the fall and winter months each year. It’s a time when a painful sore throat, heavy congestion and a headache can make it difficult to breathe, sleep or function normally. The result is that many of us stay away from work and family as we try to recuperate from a bout with the flu or a cold.

If you’re suffering from the flu, a cold, allergies or sinusitis, you’re not so worried about the actual reason for your sickness. You just want to get well.

Our Utah ENT doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat Center in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are ready to help and we can diagnose your flu or cold symptoms and help you recover. But there are a number of good habits people can follow that can help keep sinuses clear during cold and flu season. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends you follow these five tips to maintain sinus health.

We also recommend you get a flu shot each year.

Read: 5 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot Each Year

1. Drink Lots of Fluids

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to regularly drink fluids. You’ll stay hydrated and fluids can help ensure that your mucus or nasal discharges stays thin. Drinking fluids regularly also helps prevent congestion. The old guideline of 6-8 glasses of water each day can help your sinus health while it strengthens your immune system.

2. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help break down congestion by introducing moisture into your environment. Humidifiers are particularly helpful in arid states like Utah where the air is naturally dry and humidity is extremely low. And since most Utah homes are heated using forced-air furnaces that can also irritate your sinuses, you may soon find that using a humidifier in your bedroom each night can help you get more restful sleep (plus, your skin will become less dry–consider that a bonus).

3. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

You already know that smoking can quickly irritate the nose of the smoker as well as the people around the smoker. But you may not know that alcohol can cause nasal and sinus membranes to swell, which, in some cases, exposes them to irritation and infection. If you often find yourself congested, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and monitor your health. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.

Read: Ear, Nose and Throat Center Helps Utah Smokers Stop Smoking

4. Avoid Contact with Allergy Triggers

If you suffer from allergies, you need to avoid contact with those items that trigger allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. If you can’t avoid these triggers, use over-the-counter allergy medicines to help control congestion.

Read: 5 Tips to Avoid Allergies in Utah

5. Use Nasal Sprays

Cold and flu season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you plan to fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off. The nasal spray will help mucus drain naturally and you’ll avoid blockage of the sinuses.

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center specializes in diagnosing and treating sinus conditions, congestion, flu and cold symptoms. Contact us to set an appointment today.

 

girl smelling flowers and sneezing

5 Tips to Avoid Allergies in Utah

Allergy season in Utah is in full bloom. For many Salt Lake City allergy sufferers, the season begins in April and lingers through the fall as grass, molds, trees all work through their natural cycles.

Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergies. During certain weeks, it can feel like everyone you know in Utah suffers from allergies due to itchy or watery eyes, congestion and non-stop sneezing when symptoms go from bad to worse!

At the Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City, we regularly treat our patients in Salt Lake City, Sandy and Park City for allergies. In some cases, simple over-the-counter medicine is the best option. In other cases, allergy shots and treatment are the best course of action.

Dr. John Bennett of the Ear, Nose and Throat Center recommends that anyone who requires medications for more than a month every or spring and fall, consider allergy testing.

“Allergy tests will show exactly what you are allergic to so you can avoid those allergy triggers in the future, and also whether the allergies are bad enough to justify allergy shots or allergy drops,” adds Dr. Bennett. “The good news is that new allergy drops, known as sublingual immunotherapy, offer the convenience of taking drops at home and eliminate the need to get poked with a shot constantly.”

We don’t want you to suffer any more than you have to. So here are 5 Tips to Avoid Allergies. If these don’t work, please contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City to set up an appointment with one of our trained allergy specialists.

1. Stay inside on windy days or when pollen count is high

We realize this seems awfully simple, but sometimes prevention is the best option. For some allergy sufferers, a day spent inside with the windows closed can mean the difference between a frustrating day of sneezing and a comfortable day where you act and feel like a normal person. Pay attention to pollen counts and when they are particularly high. Also, if it’s windy, realize the pollen is filling the air. Stay inside.

2. Keep a clean home and dust regularly

Every home gets dusty. But if you’re an allergy sufferer, a clean home can mean the difference between good and bad health (or at least comfortable and uncomfortable days). One of the most critical places to minimize dust and pollen is your bedroom. Think about it; you spend six or more hours in that one place every day. When it’s dusty, you’ll suffer. When it’s clean, you’ll rest easily.

A few other items to consider eliminating from your bedroom: carpet, down-filled blankets and pillows, and closets filled with clothes you rarely wear. These items are all dust-magnets and, when dirty, proven to provoke allergies.

Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, John Bennett, offers the following recommendations.

“If you suffer from bad allergies, at least make your bedroom an allergy-free zone,” says Dr. Bennett. “That means no pets, and nothing that gathers dust like books and fluffy decorations. The floors should be hard or at least have very thin carpeting. Frequent dusting and vacuuming is a must. The room should be spartan and simply decorated, almost like a hotel room. In other words, eliminate anything that can capture dust that you can’t easily wash.”

3. Wash bedding and clothing often to eliminate dust mites

No one likes the thought of dust mites sharing their home. But if you don’t wash bedding, curtains and clothing regularly in hot water, you may have dust mite squatters in your home. Eliminate them and you’ve improved your likelihood of staying allergy-free. Welcome them into your home and you’ll feel their presence today, tomorrow and, well, you get the picture.

“Bed linens should all be washable and washed regularly,” says Dr. Bennett. “It’s one of the best ways to ensure a clean, allergy-free space.”

4. Use air conditioning instead of opening windows

This can be a tough choice in Utah when hot summer days become delightful and cool summer nights. It’s great to hear the crickets chirping outside your window and opening windows saves on power costs. But your nose and eyes will thank you if you choose to run your air conditioning instead of opening your windows on particularly windy or pollen-filled nights (see tip #1 again). Use your body as a guide; if you feel like your allergies are coming on, close the windows. If you feel like you’re breathing easily and it’s not windy, you might be fine with your windows open.

5. Wear a face mask when you work in the yard

One common allergy trigger from Draper to Salt Lake City is grass. When grass is seeding, it triggers allergies and few triggers are more powerful than mowing your lawn and dumping the clippings in a garbage can. The grass and dust flies and soon your sneezing.

Your grass won’t stop growing (unless you forget to water it; Salt Lake City is located in a desert, after all). But you can fight allergy triggers by wearing a mask when you mow the lawn. Masks are inexpensive and available at grocery stores or Home Depot. Snap it on your face before you work in the yard and you’re well on your way to avoiding allergies. Swap out your mask often, as well. Because a clean mask today will become a dirty mask tomorrow.

Contact an ENT Doctor for Utah Allergy Treatment

Best of luck managing your allergies. And contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center to explore allergy shots and other treatments if these simple tips don’t do the trick.