If seasonal allergies have you searching for relief with medications and remedies, here are some health tips to find relief:
Start by keeping an eye on pollen counts and planning activities when levels are lowest. Also take allergy medication as directed by your physician – particularly before going outdoors.
1. Stay indoors on high-pollen days
This spring has been particularly difficult for allergy sufferers with documented electronic records. After an unseasonably warm winter encouraged trees to release pollen early and the windy conditions sent it soaring through the air where it could be inhaled by people sensitive to tree, grass and cat or dust mite pollens, inhaling and being breathed in by those allergic reactions triggered by its particles causing itchy eyes, watery noses, wheezing or asthma symptoms.
At peak times, try to remain indoors as much as possible. Check your city’s pollen forecast regularly and avoid outdoor activities in the afternoon; if necessary, wear wraparound sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim to help protect against pollen particles getting into your eyes; shower when coming in from outside and change into fresh clothing immediately upon returning home from being outside.
Take antihistamines according to your physician’s orders and stick to your treatment plan. If they’re not helping, talk with your physician – perhaps experimenting with various medications and doses until you find what works best for you.
2. Stay hydrated
As an allergy sufferer, when fighting off watery eyes and runny nose it’s essential that you drink enough liquids. Dehydration can worsen allergy symptoms when taking medications like decongestants that dehydrate you further.
Drinking salt water may help thin the mucus so you can breathe easier, flushing out toxins from your system and supporting its ability to eliminate allergens that linger within.
If you want more information on identifying allergies, consult with a doctor or allergist. They can conduct skin prick tests which involves scratching a small scratch on the forearm with different allergens to see if any react negatively, blood tests to test food allergies or run blood tests to detect food-specific sensitivities; allergy shots; or run allergy blood tests in order to isolate potential triggers that can then be avoided as well as keeping your home as clean as possible so as to limit pollen, mold and animal dander entering.
3. Take your antihistamines
Allergies affect the nose, throat, eyes and ears and are typically caused by allergens like tree pollen in springtime, grass or weed pollen in summer and ragweed in late fall. When exposed to an allergen, our bodies’ immune systems react by producing histamines that release from histamine receptors that lead to runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing episodes.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamines and relieving symptoms. You can find over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl and Flonase/Nasacort nasal sprays at pharmacies; while prescription allergy medication may also be available.
To be most effective, allergy medications should be taken daily prior to allergy season beginning. Some over-the-counter antihistamines combine an antihistamine with decongestants into one tablet such as Claritin-D or Allegra-D for ease of use, but for maximum efficacy saline rinses using neti pots or sprays may help clear allergens from nasal membranes prior to taking allergy pills. If severe or chronic allergies cannot be controlled with over-the-counter treatments alone, see your physician for referral if severe or chronic allergies cannot be managed through over-the-counter means; an allergist will test you and recommend the most suitable treatments and diagnose/treatment plan tailored specifically for your particular situation.
4. Stay away from allergens
At allergy season, one’s immune system reacts to pollen from trees, flowers and grasses that gets into the air, triggering their body to release histamine and other chemicals, leading to symptoms like runny noses, itchy skin patches, watery eyes and sneezing.
People can reduce symptoms by staying indoors with windows closed on days with high pollen counts and using air conditioning, if available. They should shower or bathe frequently to wash pollen from their hair, wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to protect their eyes, and frequent hand washing – since pollen sticks to hands and can enter homes through them.
People suffering from allergies may take antihistamines, decongestants and steroid sprays orally and nasally to help ease their symptoms. To maximize effectiveness of treatment it’s wise to begin taking these medicines a month or more prior to allergy season starting so the medicines have time to build up in their systems before acting when needed. It would also be advisable for these patients to visit an allergist so a skin or blood test can determine what allergens they’re allergic to and thus allow for the identification and avoidance.
5. Wash your hands
This year has been particularly difficult for allergy sufferers due to an unfavorable combination of weather conditions: an exceptionally wet winter that promoted plant growth, encouraging trees and grasses to release pollen; an abrupt shift to higher temperatures which induced it into the atmosphere; and finally windy spring that further spread its reach.
Allergies occur when our bodies overreact to environmental irritants like pollen – a fine powdery substance produced by trees, plants and weeds that releases allergens like pollen into the atmosphere. When people with allergies breathe it in through their nostrils, their bodies misinterpret it as germs and begin producing chemicals which cause runny nose, sneezing, congestion and watery eyes – symptoms associated with allergies are runny nose, sneezing, congestion and watery eyes.
Washing your hands frequently throughout the day is one of the best ways to eliminate allergens from your body and protect your eyes, nose, and mouth from allergens that enter. Experts advise washing them every few hours when outdoors; and showering each evening in order to rinse away allergens in hair or on skin; coughing or sneezing into a tissue rather than your hand is also encouraged in order to reduce pollen exposure.