5 Tips for Surviving Hay Fever Season

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Most people love the spring, as the winter chills ease off, the sun comes out, and flowers begin to bloom again. However, those who suffer from allergic rhinitis—more casually known as hay fever—might not be so delighted that spring has finally sprung. Spring means that plants will be releasing more pollen into the air, which can trigger mild to severe allergic reactions in affected individuals.

If you suffer from hay fever, there’s no need to resign yourself to living with itchy, puffy eyes, nasal congestion, and a sore throat for the next few months. The following tips can help you minimize your exposure to pollen and alleviate any hay fever symptoms you do experience:

Mask Up when Going Outdoors

If you’re heading out for errands or doing outdoor chores like tending the garden, a face mask will reduce your exposure to those pesky pollen particles. Any kind of mask can help with this, so feel free to use surgical or cloth masks depending on what’s most accessible to you. Those who’d like an extra-sanitary option can look for an antimicrobial face mask that goes around the neck, which affords you the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of germs and bacteria on the fabric.

Those who suffer from severe allergies, however, would be best-served by N95 surgical masks. These masks are designed to fit very snugly against your face and form a firm seal around the nose and mouth. This close fit enables the mask to filter out airborne particles more efficiently compared to regular masks.

Don’t Bring Pollen into the House

When the pollen count is high, particles will begin to settle on your clothes and hair as soon as you set foot outside your house. Those particles will likely stay with you until you return home, and bringing them into your house will only cause your symptoms to act up even more.

Washing is the surest way to remove pollen from your hair, clothes, and body. During allergy season, it’s advisable to leave your shoes by the door, take a shower, and change into a set of fresh clothes as soon as you arrive home. Deposit your outdoor clothes directly in the washing machine so they don’t transfer any pollen onto your sheets, furniture, or other household surfaces.

If you have an outdoor dog or cat, pollen particles will likely cling to them as well while they’re out and about. Try combing their fur out with a grooming brush before they enter your house, as well as washing their paws with warm water and wiping them clean.

Take Medication to Relieve Symptoms

Many types of over-the-counter medication help address allergy symptoms. Antihistamines, for instance, can relieve a runny nose and itchiness around the eyes, nose, and throat. Nasal decongestants will help clear your airways if they are clogged and stuffy.

Take all allergy medicines at their indicated dosage, and don’t hesitate to try a different brand if one doesn’t work for you. Many people who suffer from respiratory allergies end up needing to experiment with allergy medication or taking multiple meds for symptom relief. If you experience unpleasant side effects like fatigue or drowsiness from taking a certain kind of allergy medication, that’s likewise a valid reason to switch brands.

If you find yourself suffering constantly throughout allergy season, consider seeing an allergist instead of self-medicating. These doctors can prescribe you more potent, longer-lasting, and non-sedating medications. Some might even recommend you get immunotherapy shots to decrease your sensitivity to particular allergens for the long term.

Try a Saltwater Gargle or Nasal Rinse

If you’re not a fan of the sedative side effects that a lot of over-the-counter allergy medicines bring, treating your symptoms with a saline solution might give you some welcome relief. Irrigating your sinuses with about eight ounces of saltwater will help clear away pollen and other allergens. You can use either a spray bottle or a neti pot for this purpose, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Gargling with warm salt water once or twice a day, meanwhile, can help soothe an irritated throat.

It’s typically recommended for allergy sufferers to rinse their sinuses anywhere between once a day to once every other day throughout allergy season. Health professionals generally don’t recommend irrigating more than once a day unless you’re suffering from an acute sinus infection.

Watch when You Air Your House

Pollen counts are likely to be especially high in the morning, when flowers release the particles into the air. They’re often also elevated in the early evening, when the hot air from the day cools down and falls, carrying any suspended pollen with it. Needless to say, it’s not a good idea to air out your house at these particular times of the day. Do your best to stay indoors and keep your doors and windows closed.

They may not be life-threatening in most cases, but persistent allergies can take a real toll on your well-being. Taking proactive steps to limit your exposure to allergens and control your symptoms will help you make it through the season with your sinuses and your sanity intact.

Author bio
A writer by profession, Sandra has written extensively on the subjects of health, medicine, and life sciences. Her work has been published across many news and information websites and publications. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, surfing, and travelling across the contiguous US states. She dreams of retiring to Montpellier in France someday.



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