Not everyone looks forward to the spring season. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, it can be a stressful time of year rife with sneezes, runny noses, and other unpleasant symptoms. There are plenty of ways to manage those symptoms to make the spring a more pleasant season, though. Read on to find out about a few of the most effective of them.
1. Keep Allergens Out
If allergens like pollen can infiltrate into the home, there will be no reprieve for allergy sufferers. Thankfully, products like Allergy Guard can make it easier to keep those outdoor allergens where they belong: outside the home. That way, residents can at least retreat to their homes when pollen counts are at their highest without having to worry about indoor air quality.
2. Pay Attention to Pollen Counts
Local newspapers, TV stations, and radio show often provide information about pollen forecasts. Pay attention to them. If the forecast indicates high pollen counts, it’s wise to avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when the counts are highest. If allergen sufferers must go outside on high-pollen mornings, they can at least take allergy medications before going out. These medications are more effective if consumers take them before their symptoms begin.
3. Use Air Conditioning in the Car
Families can protect their homes against outdoor allergens by installing specialized screens, but no such products exist right now for cars. Make a point of using the air conditioning in the spring instead of opening the windows. It’s also wise to clean the car often using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter to remove pollen, pet dander, and other allergens tracked in on riders’ feet.
4. Take Plenty of Showers
Washing the pollen off after going outside is a great way to reduce allergy symptoms throughout the rest of the day. A hot shower can also help to reduce nasal congestion by cleaning out the sinuses. It’s also important to wash any clothes worn outside at the same time to avoid reintroducing allergy triggers.
5. Try OTC Solutions
There are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) medications available that target allergy symptoms. These nonprescription medications can help to mitigate problems like runny noses, sneezing, and watery eyes. Try antihistamines to alleviate sneezing, itchiness, watery eyes, and runny noses. Decongestants may be more effective for providing temporary relief from nasal congestion, but they should only be used for a few days in a row.
Some medications include both antihistamines and decongestants, but they can have unpleasant side effects. OTC nasal sprays can ease symptoms without any serious side effects, but allergy sufferers must take them before their symptoms appear for maximum efficacy.
6. Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation, or a simple sinus rinse, is a quick and effective way to relieve allergy-induced congestion. Use a neti pot or a squeeze bottle filled with distilled or sterile water or saline solution, and rinse the device after every use. This is a safe DIY solution that can be repeated as needed to flush out mucus and allergens.
7. Consider Natural Remedies
Natural herbal remedies can be effective at reducing some allergy symptoms. Try green tea as an antihistamine by consuming two cups per day starting around two weeks before allergy season to ward off congestion. Butterbur and licorice root can also reduce allergy symptoms, but some consumers have bad reactions to them so it’s wise to consult a doctor before using these natural remedies.
8. Make Dietary Changes
Making dietary changes isn’t just an effective way of putting an end to food allergies. It can also help with some seasonal allergies. Those who are allergic to ragweed or pollen may benefit from avoiding melon, banana, cucumber, and sunflower seeds and should avoid chamomile since these foods can make symptoms worse.
Dried fruits and dairy products can also worsen nasal congestion since they cause the blood vessels in the nose to swell. Spicy foods tend to have the opposite effect. For those who like it hot, just eating a plate of hot wings can be a great way to clear stuffy nasal passages.
9. Ask About Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a treatment modality that can help some allergen sufferers reduce the intensity of their immune responses to their triggers. Also known as desensitization, immunotherapy involves getting regular injections of tiny amounts of allergens. Some allergists can also provide tablets that can be taken sublingually with the same effects.
Over time, the body stops producing exaggerated immune system responses to the allergens, which puts an end to symptoms. Immunotherapy is only safe when performed under the observation of a specialized ear, nose, and throat doctor.
10. Use Medications Properly
Those who prefer to take OTC or prescription allergy medications over trying herbal remedies and making sometimes difficult lifestyle changes should make sure they know how to use them properly. Some allergy medications can do more harm than good if consumers use them wrong. Afrin, for example, can cause rebound congestion that leaves users even more miserable if they come to rely on it then have to go without.
The popular decongestant pseudoephedrine, sold under the brand name Sudafed, can raise blood pressure and give users the jitters if they take too much or take it too late in the day. It can also worsen existing heart problems, leading to the need for more advanced medical care. Make sure to discuss changes in over-the-counter medications use with a doctor to rule out potentially dangerous drug interactions and minimize the chances of developing unpleasant side effects.
The Bottom Line
While immunotherapy is the only real treatment for allergies and it doesn’t work for everyone, there are plenty of ways to manage symptoms. They include making basic lifestyle changes, such as installing allergen-proof screens, avoiding outdoor activities when pollen counts are high, and showering after spending time outside, and incorporating fewer foods in the diet that could worsen symptoms. When it comes to pharmaceutical interventions, t’s fine to try herbal remedies and OTC medications first, but if they don’t work, it may be worth heading to an allergy specialist for testing and a treatment plan.