Spring Allergy Season is Here - Tips to Feel Better
April 09, 2019
Spring is a time many love to spend outdoors surrounded by blooming trees and flowers. However, for some, it can be tough to enjoy due to seasonal allergy symptoms commonly known as “hay fever” and allergic rhinitis.
Here are some ways you can avoid allergy symptoms and get relief:
- Venture outside after a good rain. This is the best time to go out as the rain helps knock down pollen in the air and on surfaces. Dry, windy days can aggravate your symptoms.
- Try to leave lawn care in the hands of others or wear a mask.
- Remove clothing worn outdoors and shower after going outside to avoid tracking pollen indoors.
- Avoid line drying clothing outside.
- Hold off on morning activities when pollen counts are the highest.
- Be aware of pollen forecasts and counts issued by local weather and news stations.
- Keep windows and doors closed and use the air conditioning in your home and car.
- Remove shoes at the door or keep them in the garage.
- Change your air filters regularly and use high quality filters.
- Consider using a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
- Look for vacuums with HEPA filters and vacuum often.
Try over-the-counter medications including oral antihistamines such as Claritin (loratadine), Allegra (fexofenadine), or Zyrtec (cetirizine) – many stores also carry generic equivalents at a lower cost.
Some nasal decongestants including Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and Afrin (oxymetazoline) can provide some congestion relief but be sure to follow directions and only use decongestants for the recommended period of time. They can cause rebound swelling if used long term and can make symptoms worse.
Allergy nasal sprays like Flonase or Nasacort can also help. They are most effective before symptoms begin. By keeping track of symptoms over time, you can monitor your patterns in allergy flare ups.
In addition, some allergy medicines offer antihistamine and decongestant combinations such as Claritin-D (loratadine-pseudoephedrine) or Allegra-D (fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine).
For a non-medical solution, saline sprays and sinus rinses (neti-pot) can be very effective in relieving nasal and sinus cavities of mucus and irritants. It is very important to use water that's distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller to make up the saline irrigation solution. Do not forget to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry. While these are general tips for using a neti-pot, be sure to follow the instructions on your specific product.
Some have found acupuncture treatments even help with their allergy symptoms but talk to a doctor before beginning alternative treatments.
When to See a Doctor
Most people can manage their allergies with over-the-counter treatments, but if you find yourself needing more help, talk to a doctor about other treatments.
Allergy testing may be recommended to find out what is specifically triggering your allergic reactions. Some people have outdoor and indoor allergies to things such as dust mites, molds, pets and others that can need treatment as well.
Allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) can work for some people. These shots work by continually exposing the immune system to very tiny amounts of the allergen. Overtime, the body becomes less reactive to the allergen. There is also an under the tongue version of this type of therapy for some allergens.
To find a provider or an allergy specialist near you, visit https://www.mysmarthealth.org/provider/physician/physicianSearchPage
Adapted from Mayo Clinic allergy guidelines – to read about this and more tips, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343