ATLANTA -- If March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb for most of the country, in Georgia, the lamb is already thick with pollen.
We've already dipped into "extremely high" pollen levels multiple times during the first week of spring. Some local doctors say your daily habits are making your allergies worse.
"More and more people come in thinking they have a cold, but in many cases it is an allergy attack, even if they’ve never had allergies before,” says Dr. Jeremy Allen, a board certified family practitioner at American Family Care.
The urgent care provider released its list of five things you're doing to make your spring allergies worse:
- Drinking Alcohol: An extra glass of wine at dinner could irritate existing allergies. A Danish study found every additional alcoholic drink in a week, increased the risk of seasonal allergies by 3 percent. The researchers suspect the bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce histamines and cause a stuffy nose or itchy eyes.
- Making your bed: Dust mites love to put down roots in bedding and mattresses. AFC physicians say at night while you sleep, moisture from body sweat helps keep the little critters alive. When you make your bed in the morning, you are tucking in those pesky bugs, so they cannot escape. Airing out your sheets can make it harder for allergens and bedbugs to stay alive.
- Wearing contact lenses: In some cases, AFC doctors say lenses can trap pollen against the surface of the eye. This can be an even bigger issue for anyone who is already suffering from red, itchy eye triggered by seasonal allergies.
- Eating certain fruits and vegetables: We are raised to think eating our veggies is good for us. Researchers with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found proteins in certain foods can cause ragweed sufferers to end up with an itchy mouth. The experts say bananas, melons as well as tomatoes can cause a cross-reaction.
- Using the dishwasher: A Swedish study published in the journal Pediatrics found children do not develop as many allergies if they eat off of a hand washed dishes rather than plates or bowls cleaned in a dishwasher. Researchers found automated dishwashers kill so much bacteria children cannot build up an immunity.