When the weather starts to warm up, people tend to breathe a sigh of relief. Spring typically means a return to outdoor activities and lengthening days. It can also be a time for illnesses and health problems. Being prepared for potential springtime ailments can help you enjoy a healthy start to the season. Seasonal Allergies Budding trees, bushes and flowers release pollen into the spring air. Depending on where you live, spring allergies can start as early as February. And a rainy spring can promote mold growth, leading to many months of symptoms. You can combat spring allergies with medicines. But many allergy medicines work best when they are in your system before you’re exposed to allergens like pollen. So start your medicines about two weeks before you expect symptoms. You can follow pollen counts online or through your local weather forecast. Asthma Like seasonal allergies, asthma can flare up in the spring. Common triggers include pollen, air temperature changes, yard fertilizers, and insect repellants. Don’t forget potential indoor triggers from spring cleaning, such as dust and cleaning chemicals. Contact your doctor if you have trouble controlling your asthma symptoms or need your rescue inhaler more than twice a week. Remember to use your peak flow meter to check your asthma control. You can buy a meter at your local pharmacy or drug store. Common Cold Many people associate getting a cold with the cold weather of winter. But fall and spring are peak times for rhinovirus infections, and rhinoviruses cause about half of all common colds. These viruses spread easily from person to person. Remember basic prevention strategies—wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Lyme Disease As warmer temperatures lure you outdoors, know that deer ticks also appreciate the change in weather. Deer ticks—which transmit Lyme disease—become active when temperatures rise above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to avoid tall vegetation, use tick repellant, and perform tick checks after you’ve been outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Then watch for symptoms, such as rash or fever, over the next few weeks. Sports Injuries Baseball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse and golf—just to name a few—all start up again in spring. While professional athletes spend weeks in spring training, you probably don’t. So use some caution when returning to sports and activities. Try to stay conditioned throughout the year. Give yourself extra time to warm up and cool down. Listen to your body.