Ah, spring!

The days are growing longer, the sun sets later, the temperatures are amazing…and it can be tough for some of us to be able to enjoy any of it. Why? All that pollen. All those bugs. All the things that make you itch and sneeze through the day and the night.

There are plenty of symptoms, explanations, and remedies to explore when spring allergy season hits. But there may be an option you haven’t thought about before when it comes to equipping your allergies arsenal.

You may have given over-the-counter treatments a whirl in previous allergy seasons, but if you’re finding it’s not making a dent in your symptoms this year, consider taking things up a notch. No, that doesn’t mean you have to go sit in a waiting room for hours on end. And you might not feel ready yet to undergo extensive allergy testing for what you’re pretty sure are seasonal symptoms. That’s where a recent update in healthcare approaches can come in handy.

Virtual medical visits were starting to gain some speed a few years before the pandemic hit. However, the medical community and patients questioned whether virtual telehealth care would actually work well. Before 2020, telehealth options were growing but not often part of an overall healthcare approach. During the pandemic, virtual healthcare use grew substantially.1 Today, in 2024, with greater familiarity with the use of video platforms and an overall embracing of virtual care, the use of telehealth is 38 times higher than it was prior to the pandemic. 2

What does all this have to do with your spring allergies?

Consider getting help managing your allergies by seeing a provider virtually. It’s one of the top issues for which people book virtual appointments. A telehealth provider can help you determine what might be causing your allergic reactions and will have strategies to help you manage the sneezing, the watery eyes, the itchy throat, and whatever else Mother Nature throws your way as spring springs. A telehealth provider can also prescribe any medications you might need to manage your allergies and can evaluate if you might be a good candidate for allergy shots or further testing. There’s no drive to the doctor’s office, no long wait in the waiting room, no sitting in the exam room waiting for your doctor to finish with another patient, no complicated check-out process. You make you appointment, show up on line, have your consultation, and you’re back to your day, usually in 30 minutes or less.

If you’re a Member of Altrua HealthShare on certain memberships, you have access to DialCare, a virtual telehealth service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no consultation fee. In addition to helping you with any seasonal allergy symptoms, DialCare is also a convenient way to work with a provider for digestive issues, UTIs, joint pain, skin issues, and more. If you’re not yet a Member of Altrua HealthShare or if you have questions about what features you have on your membership, contact a Member Services Representative at 1.866.963.0421.

Here are a few extra tips of things you can do to help with your spring sniffles and sneezes:

Stay informed about allergy season in your area: To see what pollen levels are in your city, check out the helpful daily allergy reports at Pollen.com. You can also find out more about the types of plant allergens in your area with this interactive map.

Stay indoor at peak pollen times: Pollen levels are the lowest from 4 a.m. to noon and are the highest from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. While a long afternoon walk can sound delightful during mild spring days, your nose may thank you for switching it a morning walk instead.3

Shower, shower, shower: When you’re outside during the height of allergy season, pollen can stick to your clothes, your shoes, and your hair. Make sure you’re changing into fresh clothes frequently, and make showering at night before bed a habit, even if you plan on an early morning shower the next day. This also is a time that you may need to kick your pup out of your bed; our pets gather pollen too when they’re outside during this time. If pollen tracks into the house on the fur of your pet, and your pet wants to snuggle up to you during the night, you’re potentially increasing your exposure to pollen yet again.4

Throwing open the windows: Does your house need a good airing out after a long winter? Sure. But on days when pollen and allergen counts are high, opening up the windows can let in uninvited sneeze-inducing guests. If you want to enjoy fresh air in the house, time it with lower pollen levels in the morning, and make sure the house is closed up again before the early afternoon.5

Enjoy the longer days of spring by getting on top of your allergy symptoms. Armed with a virtual doctor’s visit and by using the tips above, this might be your least sneezy spring yet!

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9035352/
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9035352/
3 https://www.healthline.com/health-news/highest-pollen-counts-occur-later-in-the-day-researchers-say#Time-of-day-matters-for-pollen-levels:~:text=The%20lowest%20concentrations,9%20p.m.
4 https://doctors-hospital.net/blog/entry/8-ways-you-re-making-your-seasonal-allergies-worse
5 https://doctors-hospital.net/blog/entry/8-ways-you-re-making-your-seasonal-allergies-worse#:~:text=Letting%20fresh%20air,car%20windows%20closed.