The Healthversed Allergy Survival Guide
The mercury in your proverbial thermometer may be rising and your vehicle’s windows may be lowering but, brace yourself, the sniffles are coming. Fret not our hapless wanderer. For Healthversed is here to arm you with a few tricks of the seasonal trade that we’ve picked up on our own journey.
Expect sniffles. Expect dry eyes. Expect itchiness. But also, expect a little bit of relief, too. We can’t cure your allergies outright, but we may be able to provide you with a little relief. On your mark, get set … wait … hold on … nose is itchy … ok, we think it passed. On your mark, get set … ACHOO!
We honestly can’t tell you how many self-diagnosed “allergy sufferers” we’ve met over the years. We get it. The ground thaws out, the buds bloom, and you notice watery eyes and an itchy nose. That doesn’t necessarily equate to a seasonal allergy diagnosis. We’re exposed to harmful chemicals every day! All of which could cause a negative reaction.
If you haven’t been tested, do yourself a favor and make an appointment with your family physician. Take the tests and get a concrete diagnosis.
Begin Taking Allergy Medicine Early
You’ve taken the tests and have determined that yes, you are in fact allergic to pollen, ragweed, and the like. What now? Well, don’t just sit around waiting for the sniffles to begin. Start taking your allergy medicine immediately!
Whether it’s nasal spray, eye drops, or antihistamines, the earlier you start ingesting them the better. No, that doesn’t mean that you should start popping pills in December. It means don’t wait until the symptoms become unmanageable. The key to surviving allergy season is vigilance. Stay on top of your symptoms and you’ll be just fine.
If managing your daily dose of antihistamines or steroids is too high maintenance, then allergy shots may be the way to go. Allergy shots, often referred to as immunotherapy, work by exposing the patient with a small dose of the allergen over time. That’s right, the “cure” for allergies is allergens.
Unfortunately, allergy shots aren’t just a one shot deal. You’ll need to receive a few shots, spread out over a couple of weeks to slowly build up your immunity to the allergy causing allergens. At the beginning, you’ll be given a shot once or twice per week, for about six months. Then, maintenance shots roughly once a month for up to five more years. We know, we aren’t doing a great job selling this. But if it works, it works.
Sunglasses, not just for cool people anymore. In fact, wearing sunglasses in allergen-heavy locales is a great way to protect your eyes from unwanted exposure to pollen and may even combat common allergy symptoms. Honestly, if you aren’t already protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses, you definitely should. And, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, bonus.
Limit Exposure to Allergens
Again, sounds obvious, but it still needs to be said. The best way to offset the annoyance of allergens is to make a concerted effort to avoid them where possible. No, that doesn’t mean that you need to live in a bubble. Just avoid frolicking in a meadow is all.
Be mindful of the fruit that you eat, the dogs that you pet, the places that you visit, and the clothes that you wear. These innocent, every day interactions often work double duty as allergen transmitting, sniffle inducing allergy bombs.
Rinse Your Nasal Passages
There’s nothing sexy about a saline nasal rinse. That said, there’s nothing sexy about the sniffles, either. If you suffer from seasonal allergies and don’t yet own a nasal irrigation kit, order one now. They’re great at flushing your nose of those pesky allergens that you pick up on the daily. It may feel a little weird at first, but you’ll grow to love it. Just, don’t leave it out on the counter come date-night. Detailing your nasal irrigation routine isn’t exactly a sexy conversation starter.
Don’t Skip Laundry Day
For those lucky sons-of-guns without seasonal allergies, skipping laundry day is a victimless crime. Not so for those of us with allergies. You see, dirty clothes are a hypothetical night club for the who’s who of allergens. Pollen, dust, dander — they’re all over your dirty clothes. Just go ahead and consider your dirty laundry hamper a biohazard and do your very best to empty it out as often as possible.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
If avoiding airborne allergens were as simple as staying couch locked, Netflix would be much, much more popular. Unfortunately, allergens are everywhere — that includes your dirty home! The solution? Act like your in-laws are on their way over and clean your place, top to bottom!
Clean under the fridge, dust that dirty old bookshelf, and don’t forget to change your air filter! And don’t wait until next spring to change it, either. It’s recommended that you change out your air filters every two months!
Commit to a Healthier Lifestyle
Eating healthier and exercising does more than just prolong your life and give you more energy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can actually help combat seasonal allergy symptoms too! It’s all about strengthening your body’s natural ability to fend off sneeze-inducing, airborne intruders.
Worried about increasing your exposure to allergens by exercising outside? Get a gym membership or pop on an at-home yoga video. Get creative and get active, we promise your allergy symptoms will feel a lot more manageable.
Keep Windows Closed
If cleaning your house and doing your laundry regularly doesn’t quite cut it, try closing a few windows. Again, allergens are everywhere and they can make their way into your house in a number of different ways. Make sure to keep your windows and screen doors closed during peak allergy season. Plus, keeping outdoor clothing like shoes and jackets outside isn’t a bad idea either. The kids may hum and haw about it, but trust us, they’d prefer a happy Mom (or Dad) to a snotty, stuffy, angry one.
Get a Dehumidifier
Is the air in your house noticeably heavy? Try a dehumidifier. Not only will the decreased humidity help you and your family breathe easier, but removing the moisture from the air can discourage the growth of mold, mildew, and dust mites.
Air purifiers work well too. While they don’t remove the moisture, they’re great at filtering out dust and allergens. Technology is an allergy sufferers best friend.
Wear a Dust Mask When Working Outdoors
Wearing a dust mask may make you look goofy, but what’s worse? A goatee shaped sun-tan or an itchy throat that renders you voiceless. Allergy masks are inexpensive, reusable, and effective. Sure, your kids may make fun of you and your neighbor may giggle behind closed doors. But … sorry we’ve got nothing else. You look dramatically uncool with that thing on.
Watch the Pollen Count
Yes, the pollen count is a thing. In fact, there’s even an app for it. Because, just like weather, the level of pollen in your local area can shift and change. Steer clear of potential allergens by keeping an eye on the local pollen report. If you can’t avoid going outside on those high pollen count days, at least you’ll know to be vigilant with your medication. And knowing is half the battle.
Research Your Meds
For most, allergy meds are their first and last line of defense when battling seasonal allergies. So, why not make sure that you’re using the best of the best. Reviews.com hosts a fantastic allergy medication review round-up that should tell you how your medication measures up. But remember, everyone reacts differently. If your medication works for you, perfect! If not, it may be a good idea to try some of the other ones on the list.
Try Natural Remedies
There are a lot of natural or homeopathic remedies on the market right now. You may even have a few lining the shelves of your pantry. Apple cider vinegar, Neti Pots, local honey – this is only a sampling of what can provide you with some much-needed relief.