Seasons changing can be a wonderful time of year, with the leaves turning colors or budding and new flowers blooming. However, you might end up dreading the new season if you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies. Allergy symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include anything from sneezing, itchy eyes/nose, wheezing/coughing, facial swelling to stomach pain. That’s why we want to give you a guide on how you can take control of your seasonal allergies and reduce your symptoms, from simple lifestyle changes and natural remedies to over-the-counter medications… There are things you can do to get your symptoms under control. Let us help you enjoy the season and improve your life.
Easy Lifestyle Changes to Improve Allergy Symptoms
The first and perhaps most obvious step you can make is to reduce your exposure to the things that stir up your allergy symptoms. One thing you can do is to stay inside on days that are dry and windy. The best time to spend time outside during the allergy season is after a good rain because the moisture helps clear pollen from the air, keeping it out of your airways. Some other things you can do to reduce exposure is to avoid mowing the lawn and other outdoor chores that prompt allergy symptoms. You should try to delegate these tasks to someone else in your household during allergy season. Some other steps you can take: avoid hanging laundry outdoors to keep the pollen off your clothes, wear a mask if you must to do chores outside, rinse off after you’ve been outside and remove the clothes you wore while outdoors.
Focus on indoor air quality
Something we can’t *not talk about when we discuss natural remedies for allergies is air quality. The goal is to eliminate as many allergens from the air inside your home as possible. Some ways to do this: always use air conditioning, make sure you’re replacing air filters regularly, and use high-efficiency filters when you do. You can also use a dehumidifier to keep your air clean and dry.
You also need to keep your home as clean as possible. Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom and clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. Harsh chemicals you find in many cleaning products can aggravate your allergies so make sure you’re using natural cleaners with everyday ingredients like vinegar and baking soda instead.
Take the extra step
Make sure you’re taking the extra steps needed to reduce your allergy symptoms. This means staying in the know. Tap into your local meteorologists to stay up-to-date on pollen forecasts and levels. Start taking allergy medication preemptively when you learn pollen is soon to increase in your area. Avoid opening windows to let fresh air in during these seasons. And, while you’re at it, avoid outdoor activity as much as possible during high pollen times, especially if your symptoms are severe.
Natural Treatments for Your Allergies
Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution is a quick way to relieve nasal congestion by flushing out the mucus and allergens from your airways. You can purchase ready-to-go saline solutions or easy-to-use kits.
Some studies have suggested that acupuncture may help relieve allergy symptoms. The way it does this still isn’t quite understood, but you might want to consider giving it a try if you’re having trouble finding relief.
There are some natural remedies you can try when it comes to your allergies. One of the most respected and researched of these is butterbur. Butterbur is a shrub which grows naturally across Europe and parts of Asia. It’s sometimes also found in parts of the U.S. It’s been used to treat many medical issues including allergies, spasms, and swelling.
Others claim the plant-based Phleum pratense, or timothy-grass, and pycnogenol, a compound of natural chemicals from the bark of European pine trees, can help reduce allergy symptoms as well.
Something we at Community Pharmacy recommend as a natural combatant of seasonal allergies is D-Hist. The dietary supplement is a blend of antioxidants, enzymes, botanicals, and other components that support respiratory health, normal viscosity of mucus, and helps clear nasal passages. We’ve found it’s an effective way to fight seasonal allergies naturally.
Over-the-Counter Treatments for Your Allergies
Of course there are non-prescription medicines that may provide you some relief from your symptoms during allergy season. Here are some of the options available to you (over-the-counter) and what they can do.
- Oral antihistamines
Antihistamines, like Claritan or Allegra Allergy, can help relieve sneezing, itching, a stuffy or runny nose and watery eyes.
- Nasal sprays
Nasal sprays, like Flonase, may improve your nasal congestion and other nasal symptoms. Other nasal sprays, made with cromolyn sodium, work by blocking the release of immune system agents that cause symptoms. It works best if treatment is started before exposure to allergens.
- Oral decongestants
Oral decongestants, like Sudafed, provide temporary relief from nasal congestion.
For some people, allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) can be a good option. This treatment involves regular injections containing tiny amounts of the substances that cause your allergies. Over time, these injections reduce the immune system’s reaction that causes your allergy symptoms.
Last but certainly not least, find out what the issue really is. You might want to make an appointment with an allergist to get tested. That way you can pinpoint what triggers your allergies and make a plan to avoid them. Bottomline, there are many things you can try to get your allergies under control.
Community Pharmacy wants to be the welcoming constant in your health care journey. A healthier community means a healthier you, and Community Pharmacy is the place to get your health back on track. For questions on how you can start improving your allergy symptoms, based on your life and specific needs, contact us. We are here to help.