It’s that time of the year again! The runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion — all typical symptoms of allergies – can make your holidays a nightmare.
Experts say there are several steps you can take to feel better if you are allergy-prone. You don’t need to stock up on tissues and suffer through the holidays.
1. Understanding what sets you off: Know what triggers the sinuses during this season. Is it pollen in the air? While the actual plant responsible may vary from one location to another, the common offenders are ragweed, burning bush and cocklebur.
Be especially cautious if you live in an area that sees heavy rainfall. The pollen in the air sees an upward tick if the rains have been especially heavy for that year. In addition, windy and warm days also see pollen counts go up. Mold is also another major cause for allergies amongst most people, and humidity in the air due to rainfall causes an increase on mold around your home and surroundings
2. Preventing and controlling the allergens: The most recommended technique is to eliminate or minimize your exposure to allergens. Among the often-cited measures to make sure your exposure is limited:
- Wearing a mask to protect your nose and mouth while gardening or tidying your yard.
- Check pollen counts before you travel. Experts recommend spending the holidays near the ocean or bays. Pollen counts are typically lower near these water bodies. You can check pollen counts online by contacting the National Allergy Bureau (www.aaaai.org/nab), which offers reports to the public. Or you can always refer to your local weather reports on the news and the weather app on your phone; some provide pollen and mold spore counts.
- Be sure to always protect your eyes when on the move or even at home, wearing sunglasses that cover your eyes completely when outdoors helps reduce the amount of pollen coming into the eyes.
- If you’re a fan of jogging in the park, be sure to take your daily run in the morning or late in the day, when pollen counts are typically lower.
- Check your pets. Pets are known to bring in allergies especially if they love frolicking in the grass. You might consider rinsing off the dog if he was outside on a high-pollen day.
- The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology also recommends keeping the windows of your home and car shut during allergy season.
- Avoid foods that may trigger your allergies. Your regular physician or an allergist can help you identify these foods and help you prevent flaring up your allergies.
3. Get Medication and Treatment: While preventive measures can be effective in reducing your exposure to allergens substantially, proper medication and treatment will help reduce your misery for good.
OTC medications and nasal sprays are known to be super effective. Antihistamines such as Allegra and Claritin help you keep the allergies at bay by controlling histamine, a chemical released during an allergic reaction. If your symptom is itchy eyes, your physician or an allergist can prescribe eye drops.
A more or long-term solution is allergy injections. While many people have known to see an improvement in their allergy symptoms with injections, the change is observed only over a period of time. Your physician can help you decide if immunology is a good alternative to treat your allergies, based on your medical history and the severity of your reactions.
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