How to Beat Spring Allergies:
1. I hate to make the first suggestion a drug, but antihistamines work so well for allergies it would be wrong not to mention what’s available. Many antihistamine drugs are available without a prescription. Years ago the only antihistamines available made us sleepy and fuzzy. Now second-generation antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), desloratadine (Clarinex), and fexofenadine (Allegra) are less likely to cause adverse effects like drowsiness or dry mouth. Several antihistamine nasal sprays like azelastine [Astelin]) are also available to treat symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy nose. There are also over the counter meds. available for allergy itchy eyes. One such eye drop is Alaway by Bausch & Lomb.
2. Keep your home’s doors and windows closed. You can’t completely seal off your home from the outside, but keeping doors and windows closed can help prevent pollens and outdoor molds from entering. When the weather turns nice in the spring and you’re tempted to open windows to let in “fresh” air, it may be better to keep them closed and turn on your air conditioner.
3. Limit outdoor activity, particularly in the morning. Avoid being outdoors especially to exercise when pollen counts are high, or on windy days when pollen and molds are being blown about. In general, pollen counts are highest in the morning, usually from about 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Also limit outdoor chores like grass cutting, when pollen counts are the highest.
4. When traveling by car, keep the windows up. Closing your car windows helps keep out pollens, dust and mold.
5. After being outside, take a shower and change clothes. Pollen can collect on clothes and in your hair, so when you’ve been outside for any significant amount of time, shower and change into fresh clothes as soon as you get home. Try not to transfer the pollen from your clothes to soft surfaces in your home, like sofas, beds and carpets. Don’t hang your laundry outside to dry during heavy pollen season because pollen sticks to the towels and sheets.
6. Lastly, I believe that the use of a Neti pot to clear the nasal passages of irritants works miracles. This type of device has been used for many years to irrigate and clean out nasal passages and sinuses. If your nose is completely blocked, the neti pot is NOT the best solution. Unblock your nose first. The neti pot will clear out irritants that are causing the swelling, but must be used on a mostly cleared nose. I use the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Regular Kit my daughter swears by the Neti Pot Nasal Wash / Sinus Irrigation Beginner Kit by Nasopure. I think they all work on the same principle.
When you’ve tried all you can on your own and you still can’t find relief, then it’s time to see your doctor.