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How to manage seasonal allergies

Woman with allergy symptom blow her nose, outside, spring, flu

You know the feeling – itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sinus pressure. Allergies can make you miserable! Millions of people suffer from allergies and hay fever each year. Some days are worse than others, but why is that? How do you manage the worst allergies? Here are five of the best ways you can treat seasonal allergies and hopefully bring yourself some relief.

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Avoid your triggers

It might sound obvious – but if you know what you’re allergic to, simply avoid your triggers. That’s easier said than done, right? Some of the worst days for allergy sufferers are windy days when all the pollen and allergens people tend to react to are traveling through the air. Try to stay inside as much as possible on windy days if you’re allergic to pollen, and rainy days if you’re allergic to mold.

If you can’t avoid being outside or need to spend prolonged time outside, make sure you change your clothes when you get in the house and immediately take a shower. That way, you can wash off all that pollen. Also, don’t hang out clothes out to dry because allergens can stick to fabric.

high pollen count south central kansas spring 2021 pollen app showing high and low pollen counts

Keep an eye on pollen counts

In the age of technology where most people carry a smart phone, there are tons of apps that track pollen forecasts. Pick an app that you like and download it on your phone. That way, you’ll be able to get alerts when the pollen count is expected to be high. Many apps also have maps showing you places within your immediate area where you might find relief.

When the pollen count is high, be proactive and make sure you take your allergy medicine that day, even if you aren’t experiencing any allergy symptoms. Close up your house and stay inside if you can.

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Manage pollen in your home

When you keep windows and doors closed, you can keep a good amount of pollen from entering your home and stirring up your allergies. Keep your house clean and make sure you launder any clothing items that have been outside. Other things you can do to keep allergens from making a home with you is using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or use a dehumidifier during your worst allergy months.

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Use over-the-counter medicine

Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can definitely help relieve the typical symptoms of allergies:

You can either take these medicines in pill-form or by using nasal spray. Some over-the-counter medicines even include a decongestant that can help keep your nose from being stuffy. Allergy medicines can interact with other prescriptions you may be taking. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on which over-the-counter medication might be best for you. You can also rinse your nose out with a neti pot or squeeze bottle.

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Ask your doctor about allergy treatment

When all else fails, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss alternative tips and tricks for treating allergies. He or she might suggest a different allergy medicine or a short term or long term immunotherapy plan.

Immunotherapy includes a series of allergy shots that expose you to the allergen in small amounts until your body learns how to stop overreacting to the stimuli. It basically desensitizes your body to the allergens. Eventually, your immune system will stop reacting so harshly to those triggers, and the things that used to upset your allergies will no longer cause such strong symptoms.

While none of these allergy treatments will cure your allergies, they are some of the best ways to treat seasonal allergies and bring you some comfort. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting or changing any medicines.

NMC Health has family medicine doctors who can help if you are looking for a primary care provider.

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