Ah, spring. Just as the blossoms start to blossom and the trees start to bud, you’re hit with a running nose and itching eyes.
In other words, seasonal allergies.
You may be allergic to pollen, ragweed, mold or a number of other substances in the air during the spring. Some people are allergic to dust mites, which can be stirred up by spring cleaning.
Seasonal allergies can be mildly irritating, like a runny nose that requires you never leave the house without tissues. But they can range up to the nearly-debilitating, as you squint through watering eyes to drive or work on your computer.
Don’t worry. Help is on the way. There are many tips and tricks allergy sufferers can use to reduce the effect of their allergies. Here are ten tricks to help relieve the symptoms of your allergies.
The number one source of relief can be found in your friendly local drug store. Several antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops for allergy sufferers are available over-the-counter. If you’ve found one that works, stick with it. Symptoms can vary with from year to year because the strength of allergy seasons varies. Some years there is more pollen or ragweed in the air than others.
If you have eyes much more itchy than usual, try eyedrops. Be sure to take as directed. If over-the-counter medications aren’t working, see your doctor for a stronger medication.
Get Tested for Allergies
If you have a difficult allergy season, it’s prudent to get tested for allergies. First, testing lets you know what of the possible substances you’re allergic to. Second, testing can rule out other allergies as the source of your symptoms. It’s possible you are allergic to substances other than those that trigger hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Many people are allergic to substances whose symptoms are very similar to seasonal allergies. It’s important to rule them out as part of a concerted effort to make your allergy season better.
Identify the Triggers
Triggers are the specific elements you’re allergic to. It’s important to identify them. Once you know what they are, you can avoid them to the best of your ability. If your trigger is pollen, for example, you can determine the pollen counts before you go outside, and avoid very high days.
The National Allergy Bureau provides reports state by state on pollen and mold levels. Weather reports frequently provide them as well, especially when the counts are high. If you know pollen is a trigger, keep the car windows rolled up in the early days of spring.
Wash Your Hands
If your triggers are seasonal elements like pollen, take protective measures. While some pollen is visible, a lot of it isn’t. You could have pollen, mold or dust mites all over your hands and be unaware of it. From your hands, pollen is easily transferred to your eyes and mouth. Wash your hands frequently during allergy season.
Take Frequent Showers and Wash Your Hair Often
Pollen, mold and dust mites don’t just get on your hands, of course. It falls on your body and hair. It’s a good idea to step up the frequency of showers and shampoos during this period, not because you’re dirtier, but because the allergy triggers may be living on your body. And from there, they can be spread all over your house, car and other surroundings.
Keep Your Pets Trigger-Free
If you have pets who go outside, remember that they can carry in triggers by the score. Cats and dogs love to play in grass, plants and trees. They bring in allergens on their coats and jump all over the house and you. Do your best to rein them in during allergy season. Either cut down on their outdoor adventures or wash them frequently.
Close Your Windows
As wonderful as open windows might be on a spring day or night, the mild zephyrs can be filled with triggers. Fresh air is not your friend during allergy season. Close the windows. When it gets hot, use the air conditioner. If you don’t have an air conditioner, fans will work. An air conditioner is also a prudent investment for people with seasonal allergies.
Don’t Work in the Yard
If you have always worked in the garden or yard, but find that it’s more difficult because of your allergies, it may be time to switch up your routine. It’s not wise for allergy sufferers to continue yard work when it triggers allergies, especially if those allergies are getting worse with each year. Those who do are essentially putting themselves into the heart of potential trigger territory.
Hats and gloves won’t work to ward off the allergens. Transfer your green thumb to a few wisely chosen houseplants.
Use HEPA Filters
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can help cleanse the air of allergens, including dust mites. Put one in a high-quality air purifier, and use them in your air conditioner or heater. Vacuum cleaners can also be fitted with HEPA filters, which will help clear any allergens tracked in by people or pets. If you have carpet, you should be vacuuming weekly to kill the dust mites.
Wear Pollen Masks Outside
If the pollen count is high and you must go outside, buy and wear a pollen mask. Yes, they look a bit strange. But it’s better than itching, wheezing or sneezing. They work.
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies. The symptoms range from mildly irritating to debilitating. All of them, however, can be made much more manageable by following these 10 tricks.