Nip Seasonal Allergies in the bud
Spring means flower buds and blooming trees – and if you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing. Congestion, a runny nose and other bothersome symptoms, Seasonal allergies – also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis can make you miserable. But before you settle for plastic flowers and artificial turf, try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control.
REDUCE EXPOSURE TO ALLERGENS
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
- Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Don’t hang laundry outside – pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
- Wear a pollen mask If you do outside chores.
- If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
- Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
- Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
TRY AN OVER- THE- COUNTER REMEDY
Nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. They include:
- Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Examples include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
- Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms.
- Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before symptoms start.
- Combination medications. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, including loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).
TIME TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR
When over-the-counter remedies aren’t enough, your doctor may recommend skin tests or blood tests to find out what allergens trigger your symptoms. Testing can help determine what steps you need to take to avoid specific triggers and identify which treatments are likely to work best.
HOW DO ALLERGY SHOTS WORK?
Also known as desensitization, allergy shots contain tiny amounts of the substances that cause your allergies. Over time, these injections reduce the immune system reaction that causes symptoms.