Seasonal allergies, commonly referred to as hay fever, affect millions of Americans each year and include itchy eyes and watery discharge, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion.
Here are a few steps you can take to relieve and prevent symptoms: 1. Start taking antihistamines and decongestants early; they can provide immediate relief of your symptoms.
Step one of managing allergies is identifying and avoiding triggers, as this will minimize symptoms while helping stop irritation from becoming sinusitis or asthma.
At times, this can be challenging as climate change extends allergy seasons and pollen counts increase, but it can still be accomplished.
Shut windows and use air filters when pollen levels are high, keep pets outside, and wash sheets, blankets, and pillowcases regularly in hot or warm water to minimize allergen exposure. A humidifier can add humidity to the air which helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew spores that are known triggers for some people with allergies.
Your doctor can also suggest over-the-counter antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops as necessary to address symptoms. If these fail, immunotherapy could be an ideal treatment option: it involves regular injections or sublingual tablets that slowly build tolerance to allergens so your body no longer reacts negatively; typically lasting three to five years and being very successful for up to 85% of recipients.
Taking Allergy Medication
If your allergy symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, congestion, an itchy roof of the mouth or throat or itchy, watery eyes persisting, it is wise to make an appointment with your primary care doctor immediately. Your physician can determine whether they are allergies, COVID-19 or colds and refer you to an allergist for further testing if necessary.
Allergy medications – both over-the-counter and prescription – work best when taken preventively, according to Nimmagadda. Intranasal steroids such as mometasone furoate or fluticasone propionate should be started at least one month prior to when you expect your allergies to appear, she advises.
Antihistamines tend to work best if taken daily during allergy season when symptoms are likely to surface, although as some antihistamines can be sedating it might be wiser to opt for one without this effect such as Claritin or Allegra. If allergy symptoms still persist after some time has passed, speaking with your physician about immunotherapy injections might help – immunotherapy “shots” involve administering small doses of allergens that don’t provoke an immune reaction in order to build tolerance over time and eventually overcome allergy triggers altogether.
On high pollen days, keeping the windows closed may help your allergy symptoms from worsening. Before venturing outside, check the weather forecast to see if pollen counts are expected to be high.
Avoid bringing allergens from outside by taking off your shoes and changing into clean clothing as soon as you enter your home, washing your hair and clothing after coming in, and doing a pollen wash before bed. Also wipe down pets paws and fur as these could carry pollen into the home.
Allergies are caused by an immune system’s overreaction to airborne substances. Even if you believe you know your triggers, it’s still wise to see an allergist and get tested to establish exactly which allergens cause hay fever symptoms and find relief for year-round allergies.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Allergy symptoms can make sleeping hard. Sneezing, itching and runny noses may keep you up throughout the night or keep you awake throughout the day resulting in extreme exhaustion.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit your physician immediately. They can help identify whether this is allergy season or simply a cold and recommend the most effective ways of treating allergies.
Before sleeping, shower and wipe down surfaces to remove dust mites and pollen from your skin, hair and bedding. Take an antihistamine before bed to help relieve allergy symptoms and induce sleep. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C which may also ease allergy symptoms. If congestion keeps you up at night, consider investing in a wedge pillow designed to elevate the head while sleeping and promote sinus drainage – these pillows can usually be found at most sleep stores or online retailers.