Kicking and sneezing: Allergy season at its peak
5 4 17
With Jess Willard
Flowers are blossoming, bees are buzzing, and your neighbor is annoyingly running their lawn mower at 6 a.m. as the sun’ s rays touch the earth. These are the typical signs that spring is in bloom. However, for those who are familiar with the term “hay fever,” constant sneezing, watery eyes and nasal congestion mean the same thing.
If the latter signals that spring is the air for you, then this season may have a negative connotation. It turns into a struggle to find the right medication to battle the persistent pollen pounding against your sinuses. I know that I have faced a similar struggle for last 15 years of my life, and usually, the result is the same: I sift through the same four brand name, over the counter medications to figure out which one will be the most effective this year. For those who are looking for additional ways to battle seasonal allergies, I have a few suggestions that I have found to be helpful.
First of all, it’s key for anyone with allergies to be able to monitor the pollen count in the area. This will allow for you to prepare accordingly. Pollen.com not only provides a daily and 5 day forecast, it also displays a 30 day historic pollen count for the location. You can also register to have a 2 day allergy forecast sent to your email.
To preface, you should talk to your doctor about whether or not this would be a good decision for you, and this is a long term treatment. However, it can prove to be an economical and beneficial option.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), “Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens and often leads to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even after treatment is stopped.” The organization explains how these injections work; it’s done in two phases: the build-up phase and maintenance phase.
The build-up phase involves an injection with an increasing dosages of allergens about one or two times per week. This process typically ranges between three and six months. The maintenance phase begins after your doctor determines that an effective dose has been reached. There will be between two and four weeks; this is typically continued for three to five years. The AAAAI stated, “You may notice a decrease in symptoms during the build-up phase, but it may take as long as 12 months on the maintenance dose to notice an improvement.”
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are mechanical air purifiers that can trap allergens. The mesh component of these objects allows it to work. They can typically be found in home improvement stores or be bought online.
WebMD explains how these filters can assist with your allergies. “Using a HEPA filter in your home can remove most airborne particles that might make allergies worse,” they stated. Their website does explain that allergens aren’t only found in the air and that keeping your home clean overall can decrease allergic reactions.
Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. Although this option is not permanent, it can provide immediate relief. Steam can help clear nasal passages, and it can be generated in two simple ways: taking a shower or utilizing a bowl of boiling water.
Taking a shower not only aids in soothed sinuses, but it can also remove allergens from your skin and hair, which provides further relief. If you don’t have time for a shower, the latter option may be more convenient. Use a towel to form a tent around your head and the bowl, then breathe in for 10 minutes.
Hopefully, these three suggestions will help you enjoy the spring weather without worrying about breaking out into a sneeze-fest.