Fighting back: creative solutions for surviving allergy season

WomanBlowingNoseHC1503_X_300_C_YIf you’re one of the estimated 60 million Americans who live with seasonal allergies (or allergic rhinitis), you know it’s the little things – such as pollen or dust – that can make you feel miserable.

Fortunately, little things can also make you feel better. Here are key strategies for surviving the season:

Combat the culprits that cause your allergic reactions. Do whatever you can to keep pollen, mold, dust, dander or other allergens down and out.

At home

Leave shoes and jackets at the door to keep from bringing pollen or other allergens into the rest of the house.

Dust and vacuum with a HEPA filter weekly – or even daily in the spring.

Close windows and doors, again, to block allergens from getting in.

Bathe after being outside to get rid of pollen; it’s especially helpful at night so you don’t bring allergens into bed with you.

Change your bedding weekly.

If you use an air purifier, be sure to change or clean the filter every month.

Do you have houseplants? Make sure they aren’t adding to your misery.
On the go

Wear glasses – sunglasses or safety glasses – to keep out allergens.

Wear a mask when the pollen count is especially high. Not a fan of the look? Look for fashion-forward options online.

Keep your car windows up and don’t use the vent.

Clean your vehicle weekly – inside and out – during the height of spring.

Make yourself comfortable. Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding your allergens. So when your body reacts, do whatever you can to ease your sneezing, itching, coughing, stuffiness and other symptoms.

Reduce stress. Studies have shown that stress makes allergic reactions worse. Here are a few tactics to try:

Massage (a side benefit is that lying face down can help drain sinuses)




Foot rubs

Yoga or other gentle exercise

Drink water, hot teas, broths and other soothing drinks to flush out mucus.

Use a humidifier, vaporizer or steam with or without menthol or other herb.

Hang a sprig of eucalyptus or use an essential oil in your shower. Some people find eucalyptus helps reduce stress and improve breathing.

Take garlic — in food, as a supplement or in steam — to open up airways.

Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high.

Use breathing strips.

Apply a compress — either warm or cool — to alleviate pressure behind your eyes and nose.

Ask your doctor for personalized recommendations, including:

How to identify your allergen triggers.

Best medications for you, whether over-the-counter, prescription or shots.

Herbs – either those you should try or those you should avoid.

Guidelines for when to seek for more assertive treatment.

Everyone is different. Do what works for you to breathe a little easier this spring.

Get more healthy living tips at

Courtesy of PeaceHealth

  1. They left out one important help tip: Don’t plant allergenic plants in your own yards! Identify the most allergenic ones, and replace them with allergy-fighting, allergy-friendly plants. See: The Allergy-Fighting Garden, from Ten Speed Press.


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