Seasonal allergies are nothing to sneeze at
If you suffer from constant sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing – all the heralds of spring – you know full well how annoying allergies can be. But there are ways that you can minimize, if not eliminate those nasty symptoms that allergies cause. For starters, beware of inviting those allergens right into your home!
As tempting as it is to throw open the windows to fresh air after the long cold winter, think about it. All those pollens flying about in the spring air are going to come right in those windows. Maybe it’s better to keep the windows closed, at least in the rooms where you spend most of your time. If open windows are what you want, then pull out that vacuum cleaner (with a clean filter in place) and make vacuuming a regular (often) activity to keep those allergens at bay. Running exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry area are also helpful. Air purifiers are another option but do your research first. There are several types: whole house or portable room purifiers. Some have HEPA filters that need to be replaced (and can be costly); some come with a filter that can be cleaned. The HEPA filter helps eliminate ultrafine particles in the air.
Safeguard yourself. If you know that grass is an irritant for you, wear a mask when mowing the lawn, keep the windows closed when the lawn is being mowed, and don’t sit directly on or lie in the lawn. Planting and weeding can also raise allergens so wear gloves and don’t put your hands near your nose or eyes. After working in the yard or garden, change your work clothes immediately. It’s best to also shower and wash your hair to rinse pollen and irritants off, but at the very least, wash your face and rinse your nostrils because your nose is just like that filter in the vacuum or air purifier! It’s picking up and storing all those allergens. There are many over the counter saline nasal sprays and rinses that can do the trick. And saline eye washes might prove helpful as well during allergy season.
You may have to spend long periods of time in your car – so safeguard that as well. Keep the interior clean – dust and vacuum regularly just as in your house. And make sure the filters for your air conditioner and defroster are clean as well.
It goes without saying that one should avoid the things that stimulate allergies. But sometimes that isn’t possible. Your neighbor may have overly fragrant bushes bordering the property line; your office may not be air conditioned and thus, require opened windows – or be air conditioned and that’s what bothers you! You may be stuck with the lawn mowing, the raking, or the dusting indoors. The point is that we can only do the best we can do within the elements of living.
So, it may be necessary to look into over-the-counter (OTC) medications or prescription drugs. Immunotherapy is also an option for some. What you choose to use should be discussed with your primary healthcare provider. Some OTC drugs can have rebound effects and may compromise your allergies even further. Others may have no effect on the allergy you have. For more information on handling pollen allergies, visit http://www.aafa.org/page/pollen-allergy.aspx.