April showers bring May flowers and May flowers bring pollen. After this past winter, you deserve to get outside in the warm weather and enjoy yourself. These tips will help you nip your season allergies in the bud pronto so you can lounge away on your patio. Wine and cheese optional.
Scour the Internet or newspaper to see pollen-level forecasts. If the experts are predicting a high pollen count, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start and prepare to keep doors and windows closed (that’s what the AC is for).
You’ll love this one: Make your significant other mow the lawn and weed, for that matter. If you’ve got a major pollen allergy, it’s best to simply reduce your exposure. Volunteer to help with other chores or look into hiring a landscaper or a local, responsible teenager. If the gardening and yard work falls on you, wear a dust mask. It’s not fashionable, but neither is constant sneezing.
Hit up a Local Pharmacy
Know what you’re buying when you get an over-the-counter allergy medication.
- Oral antihistamines, like Claritin and Zyrtec Allergy, can soothe sneezing, itching, runny noses and watery eyes. Look for non-drowsy ones so you can power through your day.
- Can’t rid yourself of a stuffy nose? Try a decongestant, which come in oral (Sudafed) or nasal spray (Afrin) varieties. Just be careful with nasal sprays. Only use them for short-term relief. Long-term use can actually rebound congestion and will make things worse (and who needs that?).
If your OTC remedy isn’t working, try switching brands.
Go Au Natural
If you want to try a natural fix, consider these:
- Neti Pot: Neti pots are designed to help you breathe through your nose again, which can be a luxury this time of year. The remedy involves rinsing your nasal cavity with a saline solution, which then flushes out allergies and loosens mucus. Yuck…but ahhh. Of course, there’s a catch: Though neti pots can help with congestion, they are simply rinsing the mucus out of your nose. The pollen is still there, and that’s what’s triggering your pesky allergies.
- HEPA filters: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap pollen and other pesky triggers like dust and pet dander. Incorporate them into your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for best results.
- Shower: We know, you do this anyway, but rinse off when you come inside to rid your hair, clothes and body of allergens and prevent them from spreading throughout your house. Make it a bit steamier than usual. Your sinuses and nasal passages will thank you.
- Acupuncture: Reviews are mixed about acupuncture’s ability to soothe allergies, but some doctors swear by it.
No Shoes, No Problem
Leave shoes at the door and have guests do the same. Also, make like Mariah Carey and do an outfit change after you’ve spent the day outside. On that note, hang laundry inside to keep pesky pollen off your clothes, sheets and towels.
Do a Rain Dance
Rain clears the air, so go outside after a storm. Stay inside during dry, windy days.
The Doctor is in
If nothing is working, see your doctor. He or she can run tests or help refer you to an allergist to find our what your allergy triggers are and what treatments, like shots, work best for you.