How to prepare for the upcoming allergy season
Tips on how to avoid seasonal allergies
For some, spring is a time of beauty, hope, and renewed life as flowers bloom and color returns to the world. For many, however, spring signals the coming of the allergy season, and all this renewed life is muted through blurry, itchy eyes and congested sinuses. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, take some time this year to plan a strategy for avoiding the worst of your symptoms. Read on to learn about how to prepare for the upcoming allergy season.
Talk to your doctor
Make sure to visit your allergy specialist before the allergy season gets underway in order to discuss your allergies and what you can do about them. Based on your lifestyle and where you live, you may be more or less exposed to certain allergens. Medication options may also vary from year to year or depending on your particular situation, and you may even be eligible for allergy shots
Know your allergens
It is important to learn what you are allergic to, the mechanism and type of the reaction, and the specific factors to take into account based on the allergens. For instance, grass pollen levels peak in late spring, whereas molds tend to be in full force in late summer. The most appropriate treatment regimen will also vary based on the allergen involved.
Reduce your exposure in the home
Protection against allergens starts at home, so start by making a plan to minimize your exposure and make sure your family is on board. Keep all windows and doors closed (this means in the car, too!), especially when pollen counts are high. Vacuum on a periodic basis, and buy vacuums and air purifiers with a HEPA filter. Use air conditioning to cool the house instead of opening windows. Immediately remove and wash clothing that has been worn outside for an extended period of time.
Plan your activities properly
First, decide what activities will undoubtedly cause your allergies to act up, and either figure out how to avoid them altogether or delegate these tasks to other family members. This includes lawn mowing, pruning, and most other yard-work. If you do have to do outdoor chores, make sure to shower as soon as you are finished. You can also plan your outdoor time so as to be outside when allergen levels are low, such as right after a strong rain. Avoid outdoor activities during the mornings, which is when pollen release is at its peak.
If you know that you will be exposed to allergens in the near future, start taking allergy medication as a preemptive defense. Take anti-histamines at least 2 hours before spending prolonged periods of time outdoors or engaging in any outside chores. Make it a habit to take showers immediately after spending time outside, and repeatedly wash your face with clean water throughout the day. If your nose becomes congested, immediately flush out the sinuses with saline solution. If using water, make sure it is distilled, filtered, boiled, or sterilized in some way. Nasal sprays and anti-congestants are also available, but make sure to read the precaution labels on these bottles.
Even these precautions may prove to be insufficient for severe allergies or at times when pollen counts are simply overwhelming. Consult your doctor about the possibility of allergy shots or stronger medications to help combat your symptoms in these cases.