How to survive allergy season

If 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, there are also little things that can make you feel a lot better. Take steps to 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 high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter weekly, or even daily in the spring. Close windows and doors to block allergens from getting in and bathe after being outside to get rid of pollen, especially at night before hopping into bed. Change your bedding weekly and if you use an air purifier, be sure to change or clean the filter every month. If you have house plants, make sure they aren’t adding to
your misery.

On the go, consider wearing sunglasses or safety glasses to keep out allergens and wear a mask when the pollen count is especially high. Keep your car windows up and don’t use the vent. Try to clean your vehicle weekly during the height of allergy season.

Always strive to 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. Ask your doctor for personalized recommendations, including how to identify your allergen triggers, find medications and determine whether over the counter, prescription or shots are the best option.

Ask your doctor about herbs you should both try and avoid and what guidelines to follow when you need to seek more assertive treatment.

Studies have shown that stress makes allergic reactions worse, so learn how to reduce it. Try a massage (a side benefit is that lying face down can help drain sinuses), meditation, music, aromatherapy, foot rubs, yoga or other gentle exercise.

Be sure to drink water, hot teas, broths and other soothing drinks to flush out mucus. Use a humidifier or vaporizer with or without menthol or other herbs. Consider hanging a sprig of eucalyptus or using essential oils in your shower – some people find eucalyptus helps reduce stress and improves breathing. Take garlic raw, as a supplement or in steam, to open up your airways. Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high and use breathing strips. Apply a warm or cool compress to alleviate pressure behind your eyes and nose.

Do what works for you to breathe a little easier this year. Get more healthy living tips at peacehealth.org/healthy-you.

Courtesy of PeaceHealth

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