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Got Allergies?

A Dose of Understanding Can Help Minimize Seasonal Allergy Symptoms.

Spring is here, and so is allergy season for millions of Americans. With a bit of planning, effort and common sense, many people can limit their suffering—or perhaps even avoid it.

St. Luke’s doctors are specially trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating allergies. If you need a doctor to help with an allergy, contact or call 866-STLUKES.

More Allergy Information in Our Library:

Know the Pollen Forecast and Plan Ahead!

Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffers from hay fever and airborne allergies?

People experience reactions to pollen when the air contains the specific pollen grains to which they are allergic. Every plant undergoes the process of pollination around the same each year to year.

Knowing the current and forecasted pollen count will help you know when you'll need a little extra protection.

Our new pollen count tool, provided by, provides current pollen count information for the area nearest St. Luke's Bethlehem.

If you live in Allentown, Coaldale, Jim Thorpe or in another part of Lehigh Valley—or if you are traveling to another part of the country—just enter a zip code to get a 4-Day Allergy Alert Forecast for that area.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

For the most part, seasonal allergies are caused by airborne pollens -- very fine powder released by trees, grasses and weeds as they pollinate and fertilize other plants of the same kind. Molds in outdoor air can also contribute to seasonal allergies.

Although outdoor allergens can be present year-round in warmer climates, allergy season generally begins in late winter or early spring and runs through late summer or early fall. As the season progresses, different types of pollens are present to trigger allergic reactions.

Manage and Reduce Your Symptoms

Though you cannot cure allergies, you can reduce your symptoms during times of peak pollen and mold counts.

  • Use over-the-counter antihistamines for relief. For some people, these drugs are very effective at reducing the classic symptoms of seasonal allergies, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat. It's always best to speak to your doctor about these medications and their side effects.

  • Keep your home's doors and windows closed. You can't completely seal off your home, but keeping doors and windows closed can help prevent pollens and outdoor molds from entering. As the weather turns nicer, use the air conditioner rather than opening a window to bring in "fresh" air.

  • Limit outdoor activity, particularly in the morning. Avoid being outdoors, especially to exercise, when pollen counts are high, or on windy days when pollen and molds are being blown about. In general, pollen counts are highest from about 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

  • When traveling by car, keep the windows up. Again, this helps keep out pollens, dust and mold.

  • Take a shower and change clothes. Pollen can collect on clothes and in your hair, so when you've been outside for any significant amount of time, shower and change into fresh clothes as soon as you get home.

SOURCE: HealthDay