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Second Opinion: 4 Tips to Proactively Manage Spring Allergies

Dr. Malaika Stoll of Blue Shield talks seasonal allergies as we approach the first day of spring.

This story is also available in Spanish.

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Dr. Malaika Stoll, Blue Shield of California

Following a winter of heavy rains in California, this year’s springtime blooms could be challenging for the nearly one quarter of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies

"Acting early and preventing allergy symptoms is better than waiting until you are affected by symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, congestion or headache,” said Dr. Malaika Stoll, senior medical director at Blue Shield of California. She shared some proactive tips to help prepare for and manage spring allergies:

Stay informed. There are many places to learn about common allergens and symptoms, such as the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology’s virtual guide and Pollen.com, a nationwide map that gives pollen-count forecasts and history by ZIP code. Being aware of the predominant allergens in your area allows you to take preventive measures and plan outdoor activities when pollen levels are lower.

Avoid being outside on windy days when the wind kicks up pollen, making symptoms worse. Wearing sunglasses is a good way to protect your eyes from airborne particles, reducing your risk of allergic reactions.


Create a healthy indoor environment. Regularly clean and dust your living space, including carpets, curtains and bedding. Also consider investing in high-quality air purifiers to minimize airborne allergens. Implementing these measures creates a sanctuary from potential triggers and can help reduce allergic reactions. "Taking the time to create a clean indoor environment gives you a safe space where you know you will have some relief,” said Dr. Stoll.


Plan ahead. Seek guidance early from your primary care physician, well before allergy season is in full swing. Speaking with a care provider is especially important if you or your child has asthma, which can worsen during allergy season. “Preparation is key and having allergy medications readily available allows you to prevent symptoms and stay outdoors and active,” said Dr. Stoll. “Antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops can provide effective relief, and are generally safe to use as directed, even combined.”


Seek a personalized approach. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable over-the-counter or prescription medications, and tailor a plan that aligns with your unique situation. If you have persistent or severe allergies, your primary care provider may recommend allergy testing to pinpoint specific triggers, allowing for a more personalized and effective treatment plan. Most Blue Shield of California members can get advice through Teladoc or our NurseHelp hotline.

"An allergist can help identify what you are and are not allergic to,” Dr. Stoll said. ”You may be surprised to learn what is actually causing your symptoms.”

“Spring allergies can be controlled,” she added. “By taking proactive measures — boosting your knowledge, preparing in advance and pursuing personalized strategies — you can manage your allergies and fully enjoy the beauty of spring.”

 

In the News:

How to manage seasonal allergies with and without medication

Spring is here and so are seasonal allergies. KTVU's Heather Holmes speaks with Dr. Malaika Stoll, Senior Medical Director at Blue Shield of California about the best ways to prevent and reduce allergy symptoms with and without taking medicine.

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