Spring is in the air … along with allergens that cause watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, and other misery.
From January to April, grasses, weeds and trees such as oak, elm, walnut, maple, sycamore, and cypress create pollen that triggers allergic reactions. Because pollen travels by wind, if you clean your home top-to-bottom (bedding, carpets, and air filters, for starters), you can reduce a large amount of allergens that have wafted indoors.
Go Outdoors Wisely
None of us can avoid going outside completely, but if you’re mindful of when and where pollen levels are at their highest, your allergies can be less severe.
- If possible, don’t go outdoors when pollen levels are high (usually from early morning to mid-morning) and on windy days.
- Keep your home and car windows closed. Use air conditioning when home or driving.
- Avoid mowing the lawn and steer clear of freshly cut grass.
- If you must do outdoor chores, wear a dust mask. Change your clothing and shower afterward.
- Vacation where pollen levels are low, such as at the beach.
- Don’t hang laundry outside to dry; use the dryer instead.
Ease Your Symptoms
Although antihistamines and decongestants are the usual treatments for springtime allergies, these other strategies can help alleviate your symptoms.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants (such as green tea, fruits, vegetables and nuts), unless you have a specific food allergy. This lowers inflammation naturally, reducing nasal problems.
- Try rinsing your sinuses. Using a saline solution in warm water, this rinse can flush allergens from your nasal passages and reduce swelling.
- Control your stress, or at least your reaction to stress. Stress taxes the immune system, increasing your chances of allergic reactions.
- Consider alternative remedies. A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement containing B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E can provide relief. So can a daily dose of echinacea for two weeks, or a nightly cup of peppermint or chamomile tea.
For more information about how to relieve seasonal allergies, visit Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point's health library. You can also call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at (888) 741-5119 to ask any health questions or for a physician referral.