Spring means the season in which flower buds appear and trees blossom; If you’re one of the millions of people with seasonal allergies, spring could mean sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other unpleasant symptoms. Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable. But before you choose plastic flowers and artificial turf, try these strategies to keep seasonal allergies in check.
Reduce your exposure to allergens
To limit exposure to things that trigger allergy signs and symptoms (allergens):
Do not leave the house on dry and windy days; The best time to go outside is after it rains, which helps clear pollen from the air.
Delegate someone else to mow the lawn, weeds and other routine gardening tasks that may cause the allergens to appear.
Take off the clothes you wore outside; You may also want to take a shower to wash off the pollen from your skin and hair.
Avoid spreading your washed clothes outside, as pollen may get stuck to sheets and towels.
Wear a dust mask if you do housework outside.
Take extra steps when pollen amounts are high
Signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies can occur when there is a lot of pollen in the air. The following steps can help you recover after exposure:
Watch the television, radio station, local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current levels.
If high amounts of pollen are expected, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms begin.
Close doors and windows at night and at any other time when pollen counts are high.
Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning as pollen counts increase.
Maintaining clean air inside the house
There is no miracle product that will rid you of all the allergens in the air in your home, but the following suggestions may help:
Use the air conditioner at home and in the car.
If you must heat the air or air conditioning in your home, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance appointments.
Keep the air dry indoors with a dehumidifier.
Use a portable HEPA filter in the bedroom.
Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
Try an over-the-counter treatment
There are several types of over-the-counter medications that can help relieve allergy symptoms. It includes the following:
Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy, others) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy). Older antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), are effective but can make you sleepy.
Decongestants: Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from the pain of a stuffy nose. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Nasal decongestants are only used for short-term pain relief. Long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can cause symptoms to worsen (rebound congestion).
Nasal spray: Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can relieve allergy symptoms and do not have serious side effects, however it is most effective when started before symptoms appear.
Combination medications: There are a number of allergy medications that combine an antihistamine and a decongestant. Examples of oral medications include: Drexoral, which combines the antihistamine dexbrompheniramine maleate with the decongestant pseudoephedrine sulfate, and Claritin-D nasal spray, which combines the antihistamine loratadine with pseudoephedrine sulfate.
Wash the sinuses
Flushing the nasal passages with sterile distilled saline (nasal irrigation) is a quick, inexpensive, and highly effective treatment for relieving nasal congestion. Washing removes mucus and allergens directly from the nose. All you need to do is get a squeeze bottle or a neti, a small bowl with a nozzle designed for nasal irrigation, from a pharmacy or health food store. Next, the patient uses sterile distilled water that has been boiled and cooled or filtered using a narrow pore filter one micron or smaller—to make the saline perfusion. Ensure that the irrigator is washed after each use using sterile distilled water that has been previously boiled and cooled or similarly filtered and that the irrigator is left in the open air to dry.
Are you interested in alternative therapies? Think about these remedies
A number of natural remedies have been used to treat hay fever symptoms. These treatments may help include extracts of Aramus shrub and spirulina (a type of dried algae). A number of other natural remedies are used to treat allergies, but their benefits are not clear and some of them may be unsafe. Talk to your doctor before trying one.
When some treatments are not enough, see a doctor
For some people, avoiding allergens and taking over-the-counter medications is enough to relieve these symptoms. But if seasonal allergies keep bothering you, don’t despair. A number of other treatments are available.
If you have bad seasonal allergies, your doctor may recommend that you have skin or blood tests to find out what allergens your symptoms are. Testing can determine what steps you need to take to avoid specific triggers and determine the treatments that are likely to work best for you.
For some people, allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) may be an option. This treatment, also known as desensitization, involves regular injections containing small amounts of the substances that cause your allergy. Over time, these injections reduce the immune system reaction that causes these symptoms.