Common Sense Seasonal Allergy Relief
A combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies such as nasal rinses and supplements may help you feel better
No one wants to walk around with a daily runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes and these irritating allergy symptoms contribute to a significant amount of lost work and school each year, especially in the spring. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to find relief, the first being to start supporting your body before allergy season is in full bloom as it’s easier to keep the overactive immune system in check before things get bad.
Use all the tools at your disposal.
Before you start self-treating with over-the-counter medications, the most important thing to do first is discuss all of your symptoms with a doctor to determine whether you have allergies and what the underlying causes might be. Then consider your doctor’s recommendations on testing and treatment. Medications alone are helpful for some but often provide little or incomplete relief for others.
An integrative approach explores how conventional therapies such as medications and natural options may work together to help you feel better. This type of approach may include a combination of medications, lifestyle changes (such as new bedding or air filters), and complementary therapies such as nasal rinses and supplements. (Before taking a new supplement, talk with a doctor about the risks and benefits and potential interactions with medications and other supplements.)
Check your environment.
Managing your environment is key when it comes to addressing allergies and doing what you can to minimize exposure to pollen and other irritants. For those who suffer from ragweed allergy (hay fever), symptoms tend to be worse in the late summer and early fall.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends these measures to minimize exposure:
Keep your windows closed at night.
If possible, use air conditioning and/or air filters.
Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are at their highest.
Avoid or assign heavy pollen exposure tasks such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves to someone else.
Consider not letting pets that have been rolling around outside in the grass sleep on furniture such as your bed or the couch.
(Food Science & Nutrition 2013;1:90–101 and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/outdoor-allergens.aspx)