Beating Seasonal Allergies
With the beauty of spring, come seasonal allergies, complements of budding trees and blooming flowers. If you are among the millions of people who suffer with seasonal allergies, you know well the aggravation and the irritation of congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and other annoying symptoms. These seasonal allergies – also known as allergic rhinitis and hay fever – make life miserable at a time when all you want to do is get out and enjoy spring!
The truth is you can keep your seasonal allergies at bay and under your control. Let’s explore how.
When Pollen Counts are Off the Chart – Start Here
As a seasonal allergy sufferer, you know some days are better than others. On those days when pollen counts are high, you will need to reduce your exposure to the pollen in the air. Keep a close eye on local weather conditions particularly pollen levels and forecasts. If higher than normal pollen counts are predicted, go ahead, and take your allergy medication even if you don’t yet have symptoms. Close windows and doors whenever pollen counts are on the rise. And remember, morning is often the time of day when pollen counts peak, so play your outdoor activities for later in the day.
Reduce Your Exposure to Allergens
Varied allergens trigger different people’s allergies. You likely know what yours are from years of experience, but if you don’t, your doctor can run a simple blood test to identify your allergy triggers. On dry or windy days, stay inside. Enjoy outdoor activities after a rain shower, which clears pollen from the air. Let other handle gardening chores like mowing and weeding, and if you must do it, wear a pollen mask. After time outside, remove the pollen covered clothing and shower off to rinse pollen away.
Clean Your Indoor Air
While you can’t eliminate all the allergens from your home, you can help keep the air clean indoors. Use the air conditioning at home and in your car and keep air filters clean. Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor air dry. Clean your floors using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Filter your bedroom with a portable HEPA filter or utilize a diffuser with essential oils to keep air clean.
OTC (over the counter) Help
There are a number of over the counter (OTC) remedies that can help with your seasonal allergies. Using a nasal rinse with saline (also called nasal irrigation) effectively relieves nasal congestion by flushing away mucus and allergens. Available as a Neti Pot or a Squeeze bottle, these rinses combine distilled water with saline to help you breathe easier. You’ll also find oral antihistamines (Cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), and Fexofenadine (Allegra) to help you relieve watery eyes and an itching, sneezing, runny nose. Decongestants in several forms give relief from a stuffy head and nose and include Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others), Oxymetazoline (Afrin), and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Some allergy medications feature an antihistamine and a decongestant for relief like fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D) and loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D).
When to see Your Doctor
If home remedies and these tips still leave you with bothersome seasonal allergies, call on your doctor to help. Your doctor can offer a number of treatments to help you beat your seasonal allergies.