Seasonal allergies can cause a range of agonizing symptoms, including sinus pressure, coughing, sneezing, headaches, itchy skin and scratchy throat. While modern medications offer some relief, most people have the greatest success when they take special steps to avoid allergens. If dust, pollen and mold have sent you in search of seasonal allergy relief, reduce your exposure using the following strategies.
- Take your shoes off before going inside to keep from tracking pollen into your home.
- Wash your hair before bedtime to keep pollen from accumulating on your pillow.
- Close your windows on windy days to prevent allergens from entering your home.
- Wipe your pets down with a clean, damp rag before allowing them inside.
- Close your car windows and recirculate the air instead of using the vents.
- Change your furnace and AC filters regularly.
- Monitor the local pollen count and plan indoor activities when levels are high.
- Don’t overwater your indoor plants or mildew and mold spores will grow in the soil.
- Don’t use clotheslines, which allow pollen to attach to wet clothing.
- Avoid alcohol which can worsen allergies by dilating blood vessels in the nose.
- Reduce your stress, which has been shown to increase the body’s levels of allergy-triggering proteins.
- Use styling products sparingly, since these can make your hair a sticky magnet for pollen.
- Stay indoors after thunderstorms, which tend to make allergy symptoms much worse in the short-term by stirring up pollen.
- Clean indoor fans, which can aggravate allergies by propelling dust into the air.
- Prevent mold spores from growing by using a dehumidifier to lower indoor humidity levels below 60 percent. Purchase a humidity gauge to test your current levels.
When to Visit Your Doctor
For certain people, seasonal allergies can cause significant immune responses that make them feel ill or incapable of meeting day-to-day tasks. If you are having trouble managing your allergies, ask your family physician about seasonal allergy treatments such as injections and oral medications, which can significantly reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.