Spring allergies have already hit me hard this year, leaving me a blurry-eyed, runny-nosed and sneezing mess. And I’m not the only one suffering. An estimated 40 to 50 million people in the U.S. are affected by hay fever, according to the ACAAI.
This year’s spring season could be particularly brutal for those with allergies, thanks to the extended winter. The polar vortex is being replaced by the pollen vortex, an eruption of pollen during the early parts of spring.
How in the world are we supposed to deal with a pollen vortex? Should we just seal ourselves inside our homes?
Thankfully, you don’t have to do that. There might not be an easy way to completely get rid of allergies, but there are many ways you can manage the symptoms. Don’t let the pollen defeat you! Here are tips to help you manage your allergies so you can enjoy the spring.
1) Make sure it’s allergies and not a cold. The first thing to do is to make sure your symptoms are caused by allergies, not the common cold. The symptoms are very similar, but itchy eyes are a tell-tale sign that you’re suffering from allergies.
2) Treat allergies early. Begin taking medication before you begin to experience allergy symptoms.
“Allergies create an inflammatory response that is like a smoldering fire. If you can keep it smoldering rather than flaring, you’ll do a lot better,” said James Sublett, a clinical professor and section chief of pediatric allergy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “By starting your medications early, you’re less likely to have a snowball effect with your symptoms.”
3) Check pollen counts. Check the local news or online for the estimated pollen counts before heading out for the day. If it looks like it’s going to be a particularly pollen-heavy day, you can plan on limiting your time outside.
4) Manage the outdoors. You do not have to stay indoors when battling allergies, there are ways to manage them wherever you are. Take medication early if you know you’ll be going outside, and consider getting a facemask for tasks like gardening or mowing the lawn.
5) Manage the indoors. Control your home by closing the windows. It won’t completely stop pollen from entering your home, but it will certainly reduce the amount. Also consider replacing your home’s standard air filters with high-efficiency filters designed to trap pollen and other particles.
6) Recirculate your car’s ventilation. Set the ventilation in your car to recirculate and keep the windows closed. This will help minimize the amount of allergens that enter the vehicle.
7) Take advantage of certain weather conditions. Pollen counts are generally highest during the morning, so plan on doing outdoor activities later in the day. Rainy days help clear pollen from the air, making them the perfect time for those with allergies to be out and about.
8) Bathe before going to bed. Pollen clings onto your skin, hair and clothes throughout the day, and can transfer to your bed if you don’t shower. Scrub yourself clean, change into a clean pair of clothes and enjoy your pollen-free bed.
9) Eat the right foods. Your diet plays a huge role in many health problems, including the severity of your allergies. Eating correctly can help minimize the effects of pollen. Load up on foods that have antioxidants, which can help battle inflammation in the body.
10) See an allergist/doctor. If you’ve tried everything to manage your allergies, but haven’t noticed a difference, it’s time to go see a professional. You may be allergic to something else or might be suffering from a different issue.
The spring is the perfect time to enjoy great weather and the outdoors. However, unfortunately for many, it’s also the time for enduring and dealing with hay fever. We may not be able to completely get rid of allergies, but at least we can manage it. Use these tips to control your allergies and enjoy spring!
Have any tips of your own for dealing with springtime allergies? Share them with us in the comments below!