We all know that one person who is always the first one to notice even the slightest weather change as a result of allergies. Seasonal allergies can be quite a disadvantage. While others are very excited about blooming trees and flower buds, for others it also means congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and other symptoms that can be quite a bother.
Seasonal allergies can also be referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
So, does this mean that you have to settle for artificial turf and plastic flowers to get through spring in order to avoid an allergic reaction
?The simple answer is no. Here is an in-depth discussion of seasonal allergies symptoms and how to prevent or suppress them. We shall put more emphasis on pollen allergies since they are the most common type of seasonal allergies.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?
Signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies appear as follows:
- Frequent sneezing during the day, especially outside the home.
- Runny nose,Varies depending on places the person visits.
- Itching in the eyes or mild heartburn leads to frequent burning of the tear during the day.
- Feeling of itching in the ear from the inside or in the throat.
- Mild headache and it is usually associated with ear congestion or nasal sinuses.
- Dark circles around the eyes.
- Shortness of breath especially in people with asthma.
- Light, non-continuous cough during the day.
Keep your distance from allergy triggers
An allergy trigger can be defined as that particular substance that always causes an allergic reaction. In simple terms, if you are allergic to pollen, then pollen is the trigger. A trigger can also be described as an allergen.
The most obvious step of preventing seasonal allergies is to actually avoid them. Turns out that prevention is actually better than cure. Here are some tips on how to minimize your exposure to allergy triggers:
If you are allergic to pollen:
- Wear a pollen mask when doing outside chores
- Assign all the chores that stir up allergens such as weed pulling, lawn mowing, and gardening
- If possible hang your clothes indoors since it is very easy for pollen grains to stick to clothes, towels or sheets when hung outdoors.
- Minimize the time you spend outdoors especially on dry and windy days. If you have to go outdoors, try going after it rains since the amount of pollen in the air will have reduced.
- When you come back from outside, remove your clothes and shower to get rid of any pollen that might have stuck on your skin and hair.
Be extra cautious when the pollen counts are higher than usual
Seasonal allergies symptoms can highly aggravate by higher pollen counts in the air. Therefore, to reduce your exposure in such cases, consider taking the following steps:
- Keep yourself updated on the pollen levels by checking out your local TV or listening to your local radio stations for any pollen forecasts. Also, read your local newspaper or use the internet as a source of updates.
- In case you are forewarned of an upcoming increase in the pollen counts, start taking your allergy medications even before the seasonal allergies symptoms start to show.
- Pollen counts are generally higher at night. Therefore, make sure to close all your doors and windows every time the pollen counts are high.
- Also, avoid engaging in outdoor activities at night, early in the morning, or any other time that the pollen counts are high.
When you are indoors….
By now we have already established that staying indoors is safer especially when the pollen counts are higher than usual. However, this does not mean that the air indoors is completely free of any pollen. In fact, there isn’t any product out there that will get rid of 100% of all the pollen in your room. Therefore, this is how to prevent or suppress seasonal allergies symptoms when spending your time indoors.
- Invest in a good air conditioning system for both your house and car
- Invest in a good dehumidifier to help maintain dry air indoors
- Always use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to clean your floors
- Invest in a portable HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter for your bedroom
- Invest in high-efficiency filters and always follow your regular maintenance schedules especially in cases where you have forced air conditioning or air heating.
How to prevent or suppress seasonal allergies symptoms
Taking all of the measures discussed above or following all the rules by the book will still not guarantee you 100% safety from getting an allergic reaction. Therefore, in the case that you are caught off-guard by an allergic reaction, here is what you can do to suppress the seasonal allergies symptoms:
Try using over-the-counter remedies
While it is always advisable to consult your physician before purchasing any drug, some over-the-counter drugs always highly recommend for fast relief of seasonal allergies symptoms. Therefore, you can give them a try before visiting the doctor. They include the following:
- Oral antihistamines: During an allergic reaction, the body produces a hormone known as histamine to help fight the allergy. However, the presence of this hormone can cause irritation among other seasonal allergies symptoms. Therefore, antihistamines are drugs used to reduce the level of histamine in the body, and, consequently, relieve your allergic symptoms. Good examples of antihistamines include Cetirizine (used to relieve Zyrtec allergy), Fexofenadine (Used to relieve Allegra Allergy) and Loratadine. They are useful in relieving symptoms such as itching, sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
- Oral decongestants: They are useful in providing temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Good examples include Sudafed and Afrinol. They can also come in nasal sprays. However, they should use for a few days in a row since long-term use can actually worsen the symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: The most common nasal spray used to suppress or relieve seasonal allergies symptoms is called Cromolyn sodium and it is most effective if used before the symptoms start to show.
- Combined medications: Some seasonal allergy medications are a combination of the above named remedies. Good examples include Allegra-D and Claritin-D.
Consider Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation is the simplest and cheapest way of relieving nasal congestion that resulted from a seasonal allergy. Rinsing your nose will directly flush out both the mucus and the allergens and can result in instant relief and decongestion.
There are various other ways of preventing or suppressing seasonal allergies symptoms. These include de-fluffing your living room, leaving your shoes outside and carefully choose your house plants. Also you need to stop sleeping with pets and ditch the carpets. Because carpets can interfere with the flow of air and can harbor many allergens.
If you just engage in activities that increase your exposure to allergens, always use a mask. Finally, it is important to understand that there is also a possibility that you could be confusing an infection with an allergic reaction. Therefore, if your symptoms persist, book an appointment with your physician.