Allergists from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) have some tips for reducing allergy symptoms this spring. I thought they were excellent and worth sharing… Enjoy!
1. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors. Covering your eyes keeps pollen and other irritants away from this sensitive area, which reduces itchiness and redness.
2. Shower and wash your hair before bed. Cleaning up before getting into bed helps remove pollen from your hair and skin, which reduces irritation. You should also consider keeping pets out of the bedroom if they’ve been outside, as pollen can cling to their fur.
3. Minimize activities outdoors when pollen counts are at their peak. Pollen is typically at its highest point during midday and afternoon hours, so those who suffer with allergies and asthma should avoid going outside during those times of day.
4. Run the air conditioner at home. Leaving doors and windows open is a good way to invite allergens and other irritants inside your home, so there’s no escape.
5. Keep air conditioning and furnace filters fresh. It’s important to change filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 12. A MERV rating tells you how well the filter can remove pollen and mold from the air as it passes through.
1. Treat symptoms without knowing what you’re allergic to. You may think you know what’s causing your allergy symptoms, but more than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round allergies. An allergist, a doctor who is an expert in treating allergies and asthma, can perform tests to pinpoint the cause of your suffering and then find the right treatment to stop it.
2. Spend blindly on over-the-counter medications. There are tons of allergy medications available at the store, some of which can be very effective. But if you’re buying new products all the time, spending a bundle and not feeling better, consult with an allergist who can discuss which options might be best for you. Your allergist may suggest nasal spray or allergy shots, also called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can actually cure your allergies and keep you out of the drug store aisles for good.
3. Wait too long to take allergy meds. Don’t wait until symptoms kick in and you’re already feeling bad to take allergy medication. Instead, prepare by taking medication that has worked for you in the past just before the season starts. Pay attention to the weather: When winter weather turns warm, pollens and molds are released into the air. Start treatment prior to the warm up.
4. Hang clothing or laundry outside. On a clothesline, fabric can collect pollen, which is an allergy trigger. Instead, use a drying machine to reduce these allergens.
5. Eat produce and other foods that might aggravate sniffles and sneezing. If your mouth, lips and throat get itchy and you sniffle and sneeze after eating certain raw or fresh fruits or other foods, you may have “oral allergy syndrome.” The condition, which affects about one third of seasonal allergy sufferers, occurs in people who are already allergic to pollen when their immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those of the food, and triggers a reaction. If you are allergic to tree pollen, for example, foods like apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, oranges, plums, almonds, hazelnut and walnuts may bother you. Cooking or peeling the food may help, but you should talk to an allergist.