Allergies are a short-term inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose. Seasonal allergies occur due to airborne pollens from trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds. Generally, the season starts in the spring, but can begin at different times based on when trees in your area start pollinating. These pollens enter the body and cause an allergic reaction. Below are five tips to beat seasonal allergies.
- Use a neti pot.
Neti pots seem gross at first, but there’s nothing better to relieve nasal congestion. The neti pot works by washing water through one nasal passage and out the other nostril. This removes all the pollen and debris from your nose that can cause irritation, stuffiness, and sneezing attacks. The solution is a salt wash for antiseptic reasons. Best of all, this can be done up to two times a day.
- Purify the air.
Keeping the air clear of pollen is a no-brainer, and getting an air purifier takes out pollen inside of the house. When you open the door or window, microscopic pollen particles can enter your house and cause further irritation. Air purifiers can help rid the air of these pesky irritants and the symptoms related to seasonal allergies.
Another good idea is to change out the filter in your air conditioner, because a clogged filter won’t catch as much debris. This will filter out allergens that made their way indoors. Keep your windows and doors closed when possible, especially avoiding open windows late in the morning through the evening. This is when pollen count is highest.
- Wear allergy masks.
If you’re doing something like mowing the yard, raking leaves, or any other outdoors activity, consider wearing an allergy mask. These are disposable masks that keep you from breathing in pollen. Depending on how severe your allergies are, you might want to consider buying a high-quality, longer lasting “respirator mask.” These have high-efficiency filters that strain out debris while you breathe. These are the masks generally labeled as “HEPA,” meaning "high efficiency particulate air filter."
- Keep a clean bed.
Throughout the day, your body can accumulate pollen. When you go to bed, that pollen can be transferred to your sheets and pillow. Taking a shower before bed keeps your bed clean of any allergens that can cause seasonal symptoms.
Consider washing your sheets more often. If pollen has made its way into your sheets, run them through a quick wash to ensure great sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress, which can cause your body to be more susceptible to allergens in the air.
Get rid of any unnecessary pillows and bring out the allergy-proof bedding if you have to. Cover your bed to keep pollen completely out of your room. Reducing exposure to the air reduces the risk of a bad night’s sleep due to sneezing, itching, or a runny nose. Let your bed be your safe haven.
- Consider seasonal allergy medication.
If all else fails, consider taking medication. Topical nose sprays, inhaled corticosteroids, and antihistamines can help beat seasonal allergies. Nose sprays and medicine administered through the nasal membranes will work the fastest, but pills might be more convenient.
There are several different over-the-counter brands you can purchase from any store. These include Sinex and Zyrtec. However, for a stronger option, you can get a prescription. Prescription options include Astelin, Flonase, Nasacort, and Astepro.
NasalCrom might also be an option. This is a nose spray that prevents your body from releasing histamines, which is what causes your allergy symptoms. It can help a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Some people claim that it works within 20 minutes. For best results, begin using NasalCrom two weeks before allergy season starts.
Sometimes, the reaction to seasonal allergies can be debilitating. If you suffer with seasonal allergies like this, there are allergy shots. These shots don’t cure allergies, but your symptoms will get better over time. These shots are also called immunotherapy. You’ll go to the doctor for several months and get a shot in your upper arm. It will contain a small amount of the substance you’re allergic to. Over time, you’ll build up a tolerance and the symptoms will get better. They may even go away completely during the treatment.