Springtime is allergy season in Missouri. That means as things begin to bloom and release pollen, millions will suffer from sneezing and sniffling. Dr. Ravi Johar at United Healthcare said that pollen is the culprit.

“Unfortunately, when you get outside, it can be a miserable time for a lot of folks,” Johar said. “They can get what’s called seasonal allergies, allergic rhinitis, and that sort. In fact, about 50 million Americans suffer from allergies like that. That costs over $3 billion in medical costs per year.”

Pollen is primarily caused by trees, grasses, and weeds. Johar recommends that you limit your time outdoors, use air purifiers indoors, and treat the symptoms with antihistamines and decongestants.

“We’re really talking about things like all the outdoor triggers,” he said. “Things like tree, grass, and wheat pollen. Those would start to increase as all those plants are growing, and when we have dry, windy days, that spreads the pollen everywhere and so you have much, much higher pollen counts.”

Ways to treat seasonal allergies include limiting time outdoors, using air purifiers indoors, and treating the symptoms with antihistamines and decongestants.

“Things like pseudoephedrine, which can help provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness,” Johar said. “You know, those are different nasal sprays also that can help. From that there’s combination medications that combine both antihistamines and the decongestants. If those over-the-counter ones don’t work, it’s probably really the time to start talking to your doctor to see if there’s any prescription medication that you may take.”

He also recommends running your air conditioner in your home and car to keep the pollen outdoors. Johar also said to try to avoid leaving your clothes out to dry on a clothesline, as they can collect pollen.

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