Everybody around you rejoices when the weather improves and the sun begins to shine. But you can’t help looking at the air quality reports with anxiety, thanks to the constant runny nose, sneezing and eye-watering triggered by your seasonal allergies. Fortunately, treating seasonal allergies will improve your quality of life and get you back to doing what you enjoy.
You can keep seasonal allergies in check using a number of strategies. The trick is choosing the correct one for you and your allergy symptoms.
Allergic reactions happen because your immune system classifies or misidentifies a certain trigger as a threat. A single piece of dust could cause the same type of reaction in your body as a virus or bacteria when you have allergies.
That’s why sometimes the best way to treat seasonal allergies is simply to avoid your triggers. While particular triggers can vary, most people with seasonal allergies are coping with pollen from one plant or another (along with the random fungal spore).
Avoiding pollen can be the simplest way to manage seasonal allergies:
- Get an app that warns you when allergens are high and be aware of the pollen count in your area.
- There are specific times of the year that your particular allergens are at their highest and you should be aware of this.
- Steer clear of being outside when pollen counts are high. Pollen counts are often highest in the early morning and at night. So try to close your windows during these times.
- After you’ve been outside, change into a fresh set of clothes. Every piece of clothing will accumulate pollen. So putting on fresh, clean clothes that haven’t been exposed to the outside is the smart plan.
- Rinsing the pollen off your body and hair in the shower, if you have the time, can also be helpful.
- Keep your eye on the weather forecast. You should get away from dry windy conditions. As an alternative, go outside just after it’s been raining (the rain will knock all the pollen to the ground, making it easier for you to breathe).
- Avoid mowing the lawn (or gardening). During those months when your seasonal allergies are the worst, you’ll want to avoid outdoor activities whenever you can.
- Avoidance will be simpler (and less impactful on your life) when you have a firm understanding of what your allergy triggers may be. Your triggers can be determined by having an allergy screening and we can help you create a treatment strategy.
The majority of us live in houses that are well insulated but aren’t hermetically sealed. You will be exposed to some of your triggers, such as pollen, as air flows through your home. If your HVAC holds mold or allergens, this can also be an issue. Because of this, keeping your air clean is one of the most useful ways to prevent and treat seasonal allergies.
Closing your windows while running an air conditioner and using a HEPA filter (or a HEPA filter on your vacuum) are all good allergy management plans. Using high-efficiency filters can also help mitigate symptoms.
For lots of people dealing with seasonal allergies, over-the-counter remedies are a constant companion. These are medications you can buy from your local pharmacy without requiring a prescription; but, they should all be used with care, thoughtfully, and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Here are some well-known over-the-counter treatments:
Decongestants: A decongestant is designed to decrease stuffiness. This type of medication is available in many brands and they all may contain different active ingredients. If you feel like your nose is plugged or you’re feeling stuffed up, a decongestant might be a good solution over the short term. Sinus infections can also be avoided with decongestants. However, treating seasonal allergies using decongestants may not be the right choice because using decongestants, over extended periods, is not good for your health. If you have a runny nose, other treatments could be more effective.
Oral antihistamines: Oral antihistamines work for typical and seasonal allergies because they prevent the body’s reaction to them (but they don’t work on food allergies). Oral antihistamines can sometimes have side-effects so although they might help you get through the day, you should use them with care. Some side-effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, or headaches.
Nasal sprays: Allergy symptoms have also been shown to be effectively treated with nasal sprays. Though, in most instances, nasal sprays are most effective when utilized before exposure to allergy triggers. In this way, nasal sprays can be helpful if you know you’ll be exposed (for instance, if you need to go to an outdoor function or do some work in the yard).
Nasal irrigation: A saline flush of the sinuses and nose has also proven to be effective for some people. You can get saline as a solution or spray. It helps to thin mucus and also wash away pollen trapped in the nasal passage.
When You Need to Come to See us to Manage Seasonal Allergies
Over-the-counter medications are at times impractical or ineffective for your allergy situation. Make an appointment with us to discuss treatment options and prescription medications if you believe you may fall into this category. An allergy shot is one of the most prevalent of this kind of treatment. Once we know your exact allergens, allergy shots can be given to desensitize your immune system to those triggers a little at a time.
Your symptoms can be relieved with allergy shots. That relief can become permanent over time. As a result, allergy shots are especially popular among individuals who cope with seasonal allergies. This might be a more practical, long-term treatment as allergy season appears to be getting more severe and long-lasting every year.