Spring brings beauty and new life to the natural world, but for people who are allergic to pollen, it also brings a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. From itchy eyes and a runny nose to difficulties with breathing, seasonal allergies can severely impact a person’s quality of life. In fact, some people are so affected, they choose to spend most of their time indoors, but this is not a realistic option for most. If you are one of the millions of US people who struggles with allergies during the spring, here are five ways to relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms:
- Avoid exposure to your triggers
Your first line of defense is to avoid your triggers, although this is easier said than done when they are invisible and floating in the very air you breathe. When the weather is windy and dry, it is best to stay inside as this will stir up the pollen and dust, making it harder to avoid. If you can, try to spend time outside when it has been raining as this clears the air of a lot of pollen. Change your clothes after you have been outside as pollen can stick to fabrics and wash your hair and skin every night before bed. Some people with extreme allergies choose to wear a pollen filter mask when they are outside.
- Keep an eye on the pollen count
Some days are worse than others when it comes to the level of pollen in the air outside, so it makes sense to keep an eye on the pollen count and plan your outside activities accordingly. The weather forecast on the TV and radio will include the pollen levels during spring and summer, or you will be able to find the pollen count in your area on the internet. When a high pollen count is forecasted, start taking your allergy medication as soon as you can, even days before it is due to worsen. Close your windows and doors and avoid going outside early in the morning when the pollen is at its highest.
- Purify the air in your home and car
While it is almost impossible to clear all the allergens from your home, there are steps you can take to minimize the problem. A HEPA air purifier will filter common allergens from the air, while a dehumidifier will dry the air out. Using air conditioning in your home and car can also help, but it should be regularly serviced and include allergen filters. Allergens can also settle on hard floors and become trapped in carpet, so be sure to vacuum extensively using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Use an over-the-counter medication
There are plenty of over-the-counter medications that can help people ease their allergy symptoms. Eye drops that relieve itchy and watery eyes such as Pataday are popular, as are oral antihistamines and decongestants such as nasal sprays. Using a nasal spray or rinsing your sinuses with saline solution can be helpful when trying to ease nasal congestion and flush allergens from your nasal passages.
- Contact your doctor
If the above steps do not help or your allergies seem to be worsening, it may be time to speak to a doctor. They can refer you for testing to find out exactly what you are allergic to and may prescribe stronger medication or allergy shots to prevent your symptoms from flaring up.