Tried-and-True Tips to Survive Your Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Spring flowers bring May …. seasonal allergy symptoms That’s how the saying goes, right?

For anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, you know first-hand how miserable it can make you, but you aren’t alone. In fact, more than 65 million Americans have asthma and allergies, and some people may even have both.

Springtime is typically peak season for seasonal allergy symptoms and asthma, making it the perfect time to raise awareness and educate others about these incurable diseases.

Here are some other key facts to consider:

  • 25 million Americans have asthma (5 million of which are children)
  • 32 million Americans have food allergies (6 million children)
  • 24 million Americans have hay fever, rhinitis, or nasal allergies (5.2 million children)

Spring can often signify beautiful flowers and blooming trees, but for the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms, it usually means congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and wheezing.

However, before you give up on your grass, plants, and flowers, consider these tips to help keep your seasonal allergy symptoms under control:

1. Reduce your exposure to allergens

While this is an obvious tip, it’s still critical to include as not every person is aware of what triggers their seasonal allergy symptoms. For most people, however, allergies are triggered by pollen stirred up in the air on dry, windy days.

  • Delegate yard work From mowing the lawn to pulling weeds, these are simple activities you likely do every month (or week) that can easily stir up allergens and irritate your sinuses. Consider delegating these gardening tasks to another person in your household or hiring a service to do them for you. If you must do these chores yourself, wear a pollen mask, take breaks, and limit your time outside. When you are done, take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair and wash your clothes.
  • Do not hang your laundry outside — If you have articles of clothing that cannot be tumble dried, hang them up indoors to dry rather than outside. Pollen can stick to towels and sheets, especially.
  • Avoid going outside on windy days — The wind is the biggest culprit for stirring up pollen outdoors. Stay indoors as much as you can on dry, windy days to avoid allergen flare-ups. The best time to venture outdoors is after it rains, as it helps clear away pollen.

2. Stay informed of pollen counts

When it comes to pollen, some days are worse than others. Be sure to check your local radio station or TV channel for updates on the forecast and current pollen levels.

If pollen counts are high, you can start taking your allergy medicine before you start getting seasonal allergy symptoms. Pollen counts are also typically highest in the mornings, so it’s best to avoid outdoor activity in the early morning.

3. Protect your indoor air

During peak season for allergies, the outdoors can be your worst nightmare. Meanwhile, the indoors should be your safe haven — but only if you take proactive steps to ensure it is. You need to protect the air inside your home by closing doors and windows at night or when pollen counts are high.

While there is not a product that is a cure-all for eliminating allergens from the air, there are high-efficiency filters and other products that can help.

  • Regularly maintain your vents Every month, make sure your vents are clean of dust and debris and follow regular maintenance schedules. Use only high-efficiency filters and change them out every month or when they are dirty
  • Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to clean floors
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Use a portable HEPA filter in the bedroom

4. Try over-the-counter allergy medicine

While you should always check with your primary care physician before taking any new medication, there are several types of allergy medications you can try to help alleviate your seasonal allergy symptoms.

  • Decongestants — Oral decongestants like pseudoephedrine can offer temporary relief from nasal congestion. 
  • Nasal spray — Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can help alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms without serious side effects; it’s typically most effective when you use it before your symptoms start. You can also find nasal spray decongestants, although you should only use these for a few days in a row. Long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms.
  • Oral antihistamines — Antihistamines can relieve itching, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes.

Check with your primary care doctor for suggested antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal sprays to try.

5. Rinse your nasal passages

Nasal irrigation is a quick and effective way to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. By clearing your nasal passages with a saline solution, you will flush out allergens and mucus from your nose. You can find neti pots or squeeze bottles at your local pharmacy or health food store. Be sure to use only the provided saline solution and distilled, sterile water that has been boiled and cooled or filtered.

Talk With Your Doctor for Seasonal Allergy Relief

For many people, taking over-the-counter allergy medicine and avoiding allergens is enough to alleviate their symptoms. However, if your seasonal allergy symptoms persist, talk with your primary care physician and ask for a specialist referral. There are several treatments you can try to help.

Your doctor may recommend blood or skin tests to discover what triggers your symptoms, as pollen is not the only allergen that could irritate you. Testing for allergens can point you in the right direction for what treatments will work best for you and what steps you need to take to avoid specific triggers.

Want to learn more about seasonal allergy symptoms, and specifically asthma? Download our free infographic: Facts About Asthma Symptoms, Risk Factors, & Treatment.

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