Survive Allergy Season: Tips for Reducing Symptoms

Survive allergy season with our top tips to reduce sneezing, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion. Stay comfortable and breathe easy all spring long.

Do you suffer from sneezing, itchy eyes, or a runny nose during certain times of the year? You might have seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.1 They happen when you breathe in things like pollen from trees, grass, and weeds.1 To make allergy season easier, learn what causes your symptoms, find ways to avoid them, and manage how you feel. Let’s dive into tips that can help you enjoy spring and summer more.

Key Takeaways

  • Millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.1
  • Seasonal allergy symptoms include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and other bothersome effects.1
  • High pollen counts can trigger allergy symptoms in individuals.1
  • Effective ways to limit allergy symptoms include avoiding high pollen exposure, keeping indoor spaces free of pollen, and knowing your specific allergies through testing.2
  • Immunotherapy can help the body build tolerance to allergens, offering relief to about 85% of allergy sufferers after several years of treatment.2

Understanding Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies, called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, happen when we breathe in allergens like pollen. These come mainly from trees, grasses, and weeds.3 Pollen can make our immune system act up, causing sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. It also leads to a stuffy or runny nose.3

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

What makes us sneeze can change based on where we live and the season. In early spring, it’s mainly tree pollen. By late spring and through summer, grass pollen is the troublemaker. Into fall, weeds are the main issue.3 Knowing what triggers your allergies is crucial.

Common Allergy Symptoms

The signs of seasonal allergies are sneezing, eyes that itch and water, and a nose that gets stuffy or runs.3 These symptoms can be mild or bad, affecting how well we feel during the allergy seasons.

Reduce Exposure to Allergy Triggers

To fight seasonal allergies, avoid allergens that cause your symptoms.1 Stay inside when pollen is high, usually in the morning. This is when pollen peaks.1

Don’t do yard work or spend time outside.1 These activities spread pollen and mold. When you go out, use a mask to cover your face. Then, after being outside, shower and change your clothes to remove pollen.

Stay Indoors on High Pollen Days

On dry, windy days, it’s best to stay inside.1 Pollen levels are usually high then, which can make allergies worse. Always check the weather and pollen forecasts before going out.1

Avoid Outdoor Activities That Stir Up Allergens

Stay away from activities like yard work that spread pollen and mold.1 If you have to be outside, use a mask to protect yourself.

avoid allergens

Keep Indoor Air Clean

To reduce allergy symptoms, it’s vital to keep the air indoors clean.4 Instead of opening windows, use your air conditioning. It filters, cools, and dries the air.5Ensure your HVAC system has HEPA filters to catch tiny pollen and mold.5 Vacuum often with a HEPA-filter vacuum to pick up allergens.5 You might want to use a HEPA air purifier, especially in your bedroom. This can make your indoor air even cleaner.5 Dehumidifiers also help. They lower indoor humidity, which stops mold from growing.6

Use Air Conditioning and HEPA Filters

4 Did you know Americans are indoors about 90% of their day? And nearly all US homes have indoor allergens.4 Running the air conditioning, not opening windows, can keep you away from outdoor allergens. Make sure your HVAC system uses HEPA filters. These filters can snare tiny pollen and mold bits.5

Vacuum Regularly with a HEPA Filter

5 Vacuum your home once or twice every week. It lowers allergens. A vacuum with a HEPA filter can grab the smallest allergy-causing particles.6 Use carpets with short fibers, and vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter. It can reduce irritants.5 Add a portable HEPA air purifier to your bedroom to make the air even cleaner.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines work fast to ease allergy symptoms. They include oral antihistamines and nasal sprays. Medicines like cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine can lessen sneezing, itching, and a runny nose.1 For nasal stuffiness, try nasal corticosteroid sprays.

The CDC advises you to use these as directed. Also, talk to your doctor before using any for a long time. Some drugs might cause side effects over time.

Oral Antihistamines

Oral antihistamines help with symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes. They work for stuffy noses too.1 If you’re afraid of drowsiness, avoid Diphenhydramine and Chlorpheniramine. Choose ones like Cetirizine and Loratadine that are less likely to make you sleepy.7

Nasal Corticosteroid Sprays

Use nasal corticosteroid sprays for a stuffy or runny nose. They include fluticasone propionate, budesonide, and triamcinolone.1 There are also prescription options with Azelastine and Olopatadine. Fight allergy symptoms with prescription nasal corticosteroid sprays too. They contain Budesonide, Fluticasone furoate, Mometasone, and Triamcinolone.7

Nasal Irrigation for Relief

Rinsing your nose with a saline solution, called nasal irrigation or a sinus flush, is a quick way to ease allergy symptoms.8 It flushes out mucus and allergens. You can use a neti pot or another device. Use purified water to avoid infections.8 Doing this regularly helps ease nasal congestion and other symptoms.

9 Studies show that using a saline rinse for up to 7 weeks helps people with allergies.9 It improved nose symptoms by 27.66%, reduced medicine use by 62.1%, sped up mucus clearance by 31.19%, and increased quality of life by 27.88%.9 Allergies can affect life in many ways, making it crucial to ease nasal congestion.

8 Neti pots have been popular for a long time, known by yogis for their benefits.8 People with allergies often use them daily. Saline sprays from drugstores are handy all day.8 Aerosol saline is great on-the-go, especially when you’ve been near allergens recently.

9 Many with allergic rhinitis (AR) don’t get the right kind of treatment, despite guidelines.9 A review compared how well saline rinses worked in various studies (from 1994 to 2010). The findings suggest they are a good option. Saline rinses improve symptoms, reduce medicine use, and enhance quality of life.

See also  Allergy Symptoms: Identify & Manage Common Reactions

Alternative Treatments

Some people look beyond traditional allergy medications for relief. They turn to herbal remedies like butterbur and spirulina. These alternatives show some promise. But, we need more studies to be sure they’re safe and effective.1 Acupuncture, which involves inserting thin needles into the skin, is also popular. However, not all users find it truly effective.1 Before trying any of these, it’s smart to talk to your doctor. This is because certain alternatives may not mix well with regular medications.

Herbal Remedies and Supplements

Foods rich in quercetin, a natural compound, can work like histamine blockers. This might ease hay fever symptoms. Such foods include apples, berries, grapes, and more.10 Herbal drugs may help as well. They’re often used for inflammation, allergies, and to ease specific issues like itchy, watery eyes. Remember, always involve a health expert if you plan to use them.10

Acupuncture

Acupuncture might help some allergy sufferers. It has a mixed review on how well it works, though.1 Treatments like using butterbur or acupuncture seem to have only a small effect on hay fever.1

allergy season Preparation

To get ready for allergy season and lessen your symptoms, start early. Keep an eye on11 daily pollen forecasts and alerts for your area. Knowing when pollen counts will be high helps. You can close your windows and begin taking your medicine early.1

Check Pollen Forecasts

It’s vital to watch for pollen in your area before allergy season hits.11 Lots of weather apps and online sites can show you these forecasts. They help you plan your days around low pollen times. This way, you can limit your time outside when pollen is in the air.

Start Medications Before Symptoms Begin

The right timing can make fighting allergies much easier.1 Medicines work better if you use them before allergens can affect you.12 So, start taking your medicine a few weeks early. This can stop your symptoms before they even begin. Don’t wait until you feel bad to get your meds ready.

Identify and Avoid Specific Allergens

Finding out what causes your seasonal allergies is key to getting the right treatment.1 Your doctor might suggest tests. These can show if you’re allergic to pollens, molds, or other stuff.2 Understanding your triggers helps in steering clear of them. It also aids in picking the best medicines or shots.1 Each person’s allergies are different. So, knowing what you are allergic to is very important for dealing with symptoms.2

Allergy Testing

2 A skin prick test quickly spots allergies to things like mold, dust, and pet dander.2 Or there are blood tests. These can find what kinds of pollen bother you, depending on where you live.2 It’s best to test when allergy signs are showing, to make sure it’s a real allergy.2

1 Doctors might recommend these tests to see what’s causing your symptoms.2 To help cut down on allergy reactions, stay away from places with lots of pollen. Keep your indoors free of it and wash away outdoor pollen.2

Immunotherapy: Long-Term Solution

Immunotherapy offers long-term relief to those with severe seasonal allergies.13 It’s also called allergen immunotherapy or desensitization. This treatment involves either regular shots or under-the-tongue drops of your specific allergens.14 Slowly, it makes your body used to these allergens, which calms your immune system’s reaction.14

Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), last three to five years.13 You get them weekly or monthly. Many find them very helpful for long-term relief.13 They’re good for people with allergy-based asthma, hay fever, eye allergies, or skin allergies.13 These shots help with allergies to things like pollen, pet hair, mold, dust mites, and insect bites.13

Sublingual (Under-the-Tongue) Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a non-shot option. You take a daily tablet or use liquid under the tongue.14 It could be a good choice if you want to avoid shots and take less medication.14 The decision to start this therapy depends on how long and bad your allergies are, how well you control symptoms with medicine, if you want to avoid long-term drugs, and the time and money you can spend.14

More than 50 million Americans have allergies.13 Immunotherapy helps make your immune system less sensitive to triggers.14 For some, allergy shots can stop symptoms for good and prevent asthma and new allergies.14 You might get to the strongest shot dose in 3 to 6 months and keep taking them for 3 to 5 years.14 Some people stop having symptoms even after they quit immunotherapy, but some might start having symptoms again.14 Although rare, reactions like anaphylaxis can happen, so you should have your shots in a doctor’s office.14

Allergen immunotherapy offers relief for a long time and is a good way to manage allergies.14 It works for asthma due to allergies, hay fever, reactions to bug stings, and eczema.14 The FDA approved an oral therapy for peanut allergies, which helps lessen reactions in children 4 to 17.14

Manage Asthma During Allergy Season

If you have allergies and asthma, spring can be tough.15 These two are closely tied.15 They share similar signs and symptoms.15 Things like pollen, dust mites, and pet dander can make both asthma and allergies worse.15 Allergic asthma makes asthma symptoms show up when you’re near something you’re allergic to.

During allergy season, be extra careful if you’re managing asthma. Take your asthma medicines like your doctor says. It’s good to have a rescue inhaler with you for emergency use.16 Pollen often makes asthma and allergies act up in the spring.16 Air pollution and sudden temperature changes can also cause problems.

See also  Fall Allergies: How to Manage Symptoms This Season

16 Check the air quality daily to stay ahead of triggers.16 Using a mask while doing yard work can help. It stops you from breathing in bad particles.15 Medications like Montelukast (Singulair) are good for both asthma and allergies.15 Allergy shots lessen your body’s dramatic reaction to things you’re allergic to, which is good for asthma.

Working closely with a specialist is very important. They can help with both asthma and allergies.15 There’s a treatment called anti-IgE therapy that may help. It uses something called omalizumab to stop allergic reactions from turning into asthma symptoms.15 If you have a family history of allergies or had hay fever before, you might get allergic asthma.

Sticking to the medicines your doctor gave you is key for asthma control. Make sure you have quick-relief drugs nearby in case you need them.16 Always talk to your doctor during allergy season.16 They may need to tweak your treatment. If your asthma gets worse, you might need a new plan or more tests.

If you do allergy testing, you can find out what’s making your asthma and allergy symptoms worse. Then, your doctor can create a good plan for how to manage your condition.15 Remember, besides allergies, other things like exercise, cold air, and stress can also trigger asthma. It’s vital to find out what sets off your symptoms and work with your doctor. Always be on the lookout for signs of your asthma getting worse.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms in Children

Seasonal allergies hit kids just like grown-ups. They can make children sneeze, itch, and have watery eyes. Other symptoms are a stuffed-up nose and coughing.17 In the USA, about 7.1 million kids have allergies to things in the environment.17 Kids have to encounter an allergen to become allergic to it. So, those under two are less likely to have these allergies.17 Signs that a child might have seasonal allergies are a runny nose and sneezing. They might also rub their eyes and nose a lot, have a sore throat, or cough. Dark circles under the eyes can show up too.17 Allergies can make a kid feel tired or not focus in school. They might have more ear and sinus infections, worse asthma, or act out because they’re uncomfortable and not sleeping well.

Parents should keep an eye out for allergy signs in their children. They might team up with the pediatrician to figure out a plan. This plan could have some medicine or tips on how to avoid allergy triggers. If the symptoms are bad or don’t go away, allergy tests and shots might be needed. Keeping allergies under control is key for kids to stay comfy and healthy when the pollen is high.

Outdoor Activities and Allergies

Spring and summer are great for outdoor fun. However, this time of year also brings lots of pollen and other triggers for those with allergies.18 Tasks like mowing, gardening, or raking leaves stir up these allergens. It’s best for allergy sufferers to steer clear of these chores. Instead, ask someone else to do them if you can.1 Wearing an N95 face mask while working outside can also help.

After outdoor work or play, taking a shower and changing clothes is a good idea. This helps remove pollen from your skin and hair.

Gardening and Yard Work Tips

1 Here are some tips for making yard work and gardening easier if you have allergies:

  • Get someone else to do outdoor tasks like mowing, raking, and weeding if you can.
  • Use a tight-fitting N95 face mask to avoid pollen and other allergens.
  • Don’t forget to shower and change into fresh clothes right after outdoor activities. This helps keep pollen off your skin and hair.

Travel and Allergies

Going on a trip when it’s allergy season can be tough, but planning ahead makes it easier. Find out about pollen and mold at your destination before you go and bring the right medications.19 To avoid allergens, shut windows and use air conditioning in your car and hotel.20 If you can, bring your own bedding that’s allergy-friendly. Use a face mask outside and change clothes after. Doing sinus rinses can also clear out allergens.19 These steps will help you have a smoother journey despite any allergy issues.

Preparing for Trips

Getting ready for your trip means taking care of your allergies in advance. Make a doctor’s appointment or see a travel health expert a month before you leave. This ensures you’ll have the right treatments and tips to handle your allergies.19 Don’t forget to pack any allergy drugs, like inhalers, and epinephrine. Also, have cards that explain your food allergies in the local language.19 A bracelet for medical alerts about your allergies can be useful too. Remember, you might have to cover medical costs yourself in many places.19

Car Air Conditioning and Pollen

When on the road during allergy season, a well-used car’s air conditioning can help a lot.20 If you drive early or late, you’ll likely breathe cleaner air because pollen is lower then.21 Closing the windows and using the AC in your car fight off20 allergens. This makes traveling better for people with allergies.

Home Remedies for Allergies

Aside from medicines, there are home remedies and lifestyle changes for allergy relief. You can try a neti pot for nasal rinsing. Eating local honey could help you get used to pollen. For added benefits, consider herbal supplements like butterbur22 or spirulina22.

See also  Top Allergy Medicines: Which One Works Best?

Some folks also swear by meditation and essential oils for calming effects. Remember, do talk to your doctor first. New treatments might not mix well with your current meds or could cause other issues.

Research has shown that saline nasal rinses work for both kids and adults with allergic rhinitis22. Butterbur was as good as an antihistamine for itchy eyes in a 2003 study22. Acupuncture also seems to help, according to a 2015 review for allergic rhinitis22. Probiotics might make a difference too, as shown in a 2015 review22.

Studying the effects of spirulina, a 2015 paper noted its benefits against allergic rhinitis22. Peppermint oil might reduce inflammation from asthma and rhinitis, in a 1998 study22. More recently, a 2016 study mentioned frankincense oil might also be helpful for allergic rhinitis22.

Even though these home remedies and lifestyle changes might help, it’s best to check with a healthcare pro. This step is extra important if you already have health problems or are on other medications.

When to See an Allergist

If your allergy symptoms are bad or don’t get better with over-the-counter medicines, it might be time to see an allergist. This allergy specialist can test to find out what specifically causes your allergies. Then, they create a plan that’s just for you.23 They could give you stronger drugs, suggest immunotherapy, and offer advice on things you can do or avoid. All this is to help you live better, especially when allergies are at their worst.24

Conclusion

To survive allergy season, it’s key to limit contact with triggers. Use the right meds and get personalized care when needed.25 Knowing what causes your allergies helps a lot. So does finding ways to cut down on pollen and other allergens. And working closely with your doctor is crucial.

This approach lets you enjoy spring and summer more. You won’t have to deal with sneezing or itchiness all the time.26 With a good treatment plan, you can beat allergies. Take action now to feel better during allergy season.

Pollen levels have gone up, particularly in Texas and the Midwest. But there’s hope. Effective methods exist to cope with symptoms. You can use over-the-counter meds, nasal flushes, or get shots. Adjusting how you live also plays a big role.

This personal strategy makes breathe easy during the allergy season.2627

Stay informed, choose wisely, and team up with health experts. This way, you can survive allergy season. Enjoy spring and summer more without the usual symptoms.252627

Putting the right plan together means taking charge of your health. You can breathe easy throughout the warmer months. This approach helps you reclaim your well-being from allergies.

FAQ

What causes seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies happen when you come into contact with things in the air. These include pollen from trees, grass, and weeds.

What are the common symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Allergy symptoms often make you sneeze and have itchy, watery eyes. You might also feel stuffy or have a runny nose.

How can I reduce my exposure to allergy triggers?

To reduce your risk, stay inside on days with a lot of pollen. Also, avoid things like cutting grass that spread allergens. Using air conditioning with HEPA filters can help indoors.

What over-the-counter medications can help with allergy symptoms?

Medicines like antihistamines by mouth and nasal sprays can help. They’re good for stopping sneezing, itchiness, and a stuffed-up nose.

How does nasal irrigation help with allergy symptoms?

Washing your nose with a saltwater solution can clear out mucus and allergens. This offers fast relief.

What alternative treatments are available for allergies?

Some natural treatments, like butterbur and acupuncture, might help. But, we need more studies to make sure they really work.

When should I start preparing for allergy season?

Start getting ready before your usual allergy time. Check the pollen forecast and start any needed meds a few weeks before.

How can I identify my specific allergy triggers?

Allergy tests, like skin pricks or blood tests, can figure out what’s causing your allergies. They check for reactions to different things like pollen and mold.

What is immunotherapy and how does it work for allergies?

Immunotherapy comes in shots or drops under the tongue. It helps your body get used to allergens, giving you long-lasting relief.

How can I manage my asthma during allergy season?

Always take your asthma meds as your doctor says. Keep a quick-relief inhaler with you, especially on high pollen days.

How can I help my child with their seasonal allergies?

Talk to your child’s doctor. They’ll help create a plan. It might include medicines, avoiding triggers, and even allergy tests or shots.

What tips can I follow for outdoor activities during allergy season?

Stay away from activities that kick up pollen, like gardening without a face mask. After being outside, shower to wash pollen off.

How can I manage my allergies when traveling?

Look up the pollen info where you’re going. Keep windows shut and use AC. If you can, bring your own hypoallergenic bedding.

What home remedies and lifestyle changes may help with allergies?

A neti pot, local honey, and certain herbs might work. Also, relaxing with things like meditation could offer some help. But, don’t forget to ask your doctor first.

When should I see an allergist?

If your allergies are bad, last a long time, or don’t get better with medicine from the store, see an allergist. They can run tests and design a plan that’s just for you.

Source Links

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  18. https://www.healthline.com/health/ask-the-expert-how-can-i-prepare-for-outdoor-excursions-during-allergy-season
  19. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/allergies
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