Ah, spring. Budding flowers. Blooming trees. It’s beautiful, but for those with allergies, it’s a mixed blessing. Now’s the time of year when allergy sufferers will want to reduce their exposure to allergy triggers. Here’s help.
- Try to stay indoors as much as possible on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.Remove clothes you’ve worn outside; you may also want to shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Don’t hang laundry outside. Pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
- Wear a dust mask if you do outside chores.
- Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper or the web for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
- If high pollen counts are predicted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
- Close doors and windows at night or at any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
- Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
- If you have forced-air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
- Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
- Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
- Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
Several types of non-prescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. They include:
- Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes.
- Decongestants. Oral decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays. Only use nasal decongestants for short-term relief. Long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
For allergies that don’t respond to non-prescription medications, talk with your doctor about other options, ranging from prescription medications to allergy shots.
Many doctors also recommend rinsing the nasal passages, also known as nasal irrigation. Doing this with a distilled, sterile saline solution is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose. Look for a squeeze bottle or a neti pot — a small container with a spout designed for nasal rinsing — at your pharmacy.
Source: Mayo Clinic