Seasonal allergies affect millions of Americans. Commonly, inherited at birth the term "allergen" refers to any substance that is inhaled, touched, or eaten that affects the immune system. When your body is notified of the presence of these allergens, it goes into attack mode releasing histamine. The drawback to this defense is the watery eyes, runny nose, and itchy throat. The severity level varies from person to person, but it's possible that the presence of seasonal allergies can affect the quality of life. The good news is you can be prepared with our checklist.
Your Seasonal Allergy Checklist
Pre-season is about preventative measures. There isn't a cure for allergies, but there are ways to make it tolerable.
Schedule a Visit with Your ENT
The symptoms of allergies parallel the common cold. Be sure that you, in fact, have allergies by visiting your ENT. Watery eyes, a runny nose, and a sore throat accompanied by an itch are usually indicative of allergies. The chemical histamine is responsible for the irritation as is your body's way of trying to ward off allergies.
Purchase Your Allergy Medication
Antihistamines and nasal sprays are common choices, but you can also purchase enough saline solution packets if you choose to use a nasal flush. If over the counter meds don't work, speak with your ENT about getting a prescription.
In the business of preventative treatment, allergy shots are a good choice. You can talk to your doctor about their effects and whether or not you're a good candidate. The shots work by introducing a little bit of the allergen into your body to eventually help your body produce less of an allergic response.
Find Resources with Daily Pollen Count
Planning ahead is one of the best methods for finding relief. Those who suffer from pollen allergies can receive emails or daily pollen forecast alerts. It's helpful to plan outdoor activities when the number isn't as high.
When allergy season is in full swing, you can take additional steps to help maintain comfort and suppress itchy, watery eyes, nose, and throat.
Wash Hair Before Bed
Pollen is collected in your hair. If you wash your hair before you climb into bed, you reduce the number of allergens that are transferred to your pillow.
Cigarettes trigger negative responses in our sinuses and respiratory system. Keeping the exposure to a minimum will help you find relief.
Stay Indoors When Pollen is High
If you're indoors during peak pollen time, you'll find your allergies aren't as aggressive. When you are at the office bring your lunch, so you don't have to go out.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
Spring is a mix of beautiful weather. It's tempting to leave a window or door open. It is not a good idea for seasonal allergies. The wind can blow them into your home and make things uncomfortable.
Re-Circulate the Air in Your Car
Similar to keeping the windows and doors closed in your home, you can do the same with your car. Keep windows, and sunroofs shut and use A/C to keep you cool. Using the recirculate button means your car isn't pulling pollen filled air into the car.
Replace the Filters in Your Furnace and Air Conditioner
The filter in the HVAC unit inside your house is dual purpose. Initially, the filters were designed to keep the unit itself free from debris. It still does. Over time the benefits extended to air quality inside the home. Replace your air filter to ensure there aren't allergens circulating inside the house.
Change When You Get Home
Clothing you've worn outside should be removed once you enter the house. Try to do this immediately. It will help you limit the chances of transferring allergens to areas of the home.
Leave Gardening Tools in a Shed or Container
Anyone with seasonal allergies can garden. They just need to be smart. Keep your gardening tools and equipment in a designated area to limit allergen exposure when you are finished.
Be Sensible About Cutting Grass
If you have to cut the grass, you can wear a mask to make it easier to breathe and have less of an effect on your allergies. Anyone with the budget can hire someone to cut it for you.
Keep Your Pets Bathed
Bathe your animals if you let them out. Allergens stick to their fur and can be brought indoors. Bathe them outside and brush them regularly.
Clean Your Carpets
Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum to help you remove any pollen. Try to aim for cleaning your carpets this way at least once a week. Twice is recommended for those with severe allergies.
Getting Help From Your ENT
Your ENT is specialized in the ears, nose, and throat. Because allergies affect these parts of the body, most ENTs will have an allergist on staff. Issues that compromise the upper respiratory tract can be in some way affected by allergies such as chronic nasal congestion and post nasal drip. If any of these problems get worse or are persistent, it could be an issue with the sinuses. It’s important to know if it is a sinus infection or allergies to get the best treatment.
When you see an ENT/Allergist, you have the ability to work with a team of providers who can monitor your progress and help you find a treatment plan that is most effective. At OAT, we can help you find a solution to keep your seasonal allergy symptoms from affecting your day-to-day life.
Still Tired of seasonal sneezing?Our free Seasonal Allergy Handbook gives you the tips you need to stop the sneeze.