This article was submitted by Houston Sinus & Allergy. They specialize in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. They are committed to helping patients find long term relief from their symptoms.
Spring allergies are the bane of the season for many people in the US. While most people don’t experience much more than a runny nose and a bit of sneezing, those suffering from severe cases may find themselves nearly incapacitated by their allergies.
However, that doesn’t mean that you just need to suffer through the season and pray for that first rain or snowfall. There are some things you can do to get your spring allergies in check and keep them at bay. You just need to be vigilant about what you do.
Our Houston ENT specialists have prepared this guide to help you enjoy the warm weather and sunshine without the sneezing fits, watery eyes and itchy throat.
Take Antihistamines Properly
Antihistamines have come a long way since they were invented, and many of them work so effectively that if you take them the right way, you’ll hardly notice those seasonal allergies anymore. Unfortunately, most people don’t take their antihistamines the right way.
What you want to do is start taking them early in the season – even before you notice that you’re suffering from allergy symptoms. You also want to take them before you get in bed at night to combat any drowsiness that may occur.
In addition to taking antihistamines early and at night, you’ll also want to switch up the medication you take every 4 to 6 weeks or so. That way your body won’t get used to a certain medication and you’ll be able to fight allergies the whole season.
If you don’t take antihistamines daily because your allergies aren’t that severe, you still need to take them right. That means at least two hours before any outdoor activity.
Keep Your Windows Closed
It might sound obvious that you want to keep your windows to the house and car closed when your allergies are bothering you. However, you can go a step further than to make sure your allergies don’t get the best of you.
How? Check the pollen count before you open those windows in doors. You should actually get used to checking the pollen count each morning to see how to plan your day. You may not be able to schedule all your tasks around the pollen count, but knowing when your allergies could easily flare up is essential.
Checking the pollen count each day can also help you plan your exercise routine or find out when you should skip a day or hit the gym instead of going on that outdoor run. After all, when you’re exercising outdoors you’re breathing heavily, which is going to cause you to breathe in more of the pollen and allergens that cause your symptoms.
If possible, plan your exercise routine around the time of day when the pollen count is lowest. Pair good timing with antihistamines for the best results.
Use an Air Filter
Standalone HEPA filters can help get rid of allergens that enter your home, especially when you leave those windows open to cool the house down at night. If you’re going to use one, your best bet is to move the air filter from place to place or put it in the room where you spend the most time. For most people, that’s going to be the master bedroom.
Along with using a HEPA filter, you’ll want to make sure that the air filter in your heating and AC unit is changed regularly. Most manufacturers recommend changing these every two to four months, though some filters can last up to six months.
Check your heating and air conditioner’s information or ask your repair person how often you should change the air filter. Put it on the calendar, too.
Change Clothing Quickly
The clothes and shoes you wore all day long to the office and around town are covered in allergens, even if you were careful to avoid too much time outside. That’s why you should change into clean clothes as soon as you get home.
To make this a little easier, put a shoe rack in the mud room or by the front door. You can even take your shoes off and place them in a spare bedroom or alcove nearby if you don’t want that messy look. Keep a pair of slippers by the door.
If you have really bad allergies, make sure you don’t go outside in the clothes you wear indoors. Slippers and cozy clothes are your best bet for staying comfortable during spring allergy season.
Add Saline Rinses to Your Daily Routine
Saline rinses help to get rid of allergens that will get trapped in your nasal cavity throughout the day, causing some of your symptoms. When you use saline rinses, those allergens will be washed away and you’ll be able to breathe easier without irritation.
Keep saline spray in your home and your office and try to use it two to three times per day when you’re spring allergies are really acting up.
Whether you do the cleaning yourself or you hire somebody to come in and do a deep clean every few weeks, proper cleaning of your house will keep allergens at bay. Just make sure the cleaning products being used are safe and don’t make your allergies worse.
Mold can also build up in your shower if you’re not careful, so make sure you flip on that vent fan in the bathroom to prevent it from growing.