Seasonal allergies can be so frustrating, particularly in the spring if you have been cooped up during a harsh winter. All you want to do is open the windows to the fresh air and the smell of nature springing back to life, but if you are an allergy sufferer, that may be the worst thing you can do. Read on for some information about seasonal allergies and steps you can try to prevent allergic reactions so you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Allergies are actually your body’s overreaction to natural, harmless elements, which explains why some people suffer from them and others do not. If you struggle with allergy symptoms, it is because your immune system reacts to things like pollen and grasses as an invader and is trying to rid itself of the foreign substance. Seasonal allergies are just that - your body’s reaction to different things as they bloom, triggering it to release histamines.
Signs & Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
The symptoms of seasonal allergies are pretty easy to identify. The most common are:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Post nasal drip
- Clearing of the throat
- Persistent sore throat
These are all methods your body uses to rid itself of the allergens it recognizes as invasive. Your body may also show other signs such as itchy skin and hives, trying to signal to you that it is not happy with something that has invaded it.
Preparation for Seasonal Allergies
The spring and fall are usually the most intense times of year for pollen and allergens. You can minimize the impact of seasonal allergies by taking a few steps to prepare.
Start taking allergy relief medicine at least a couple of weeks before your full-blown symptoms are usually present. Tracking pollen levels through a weather app or your local news can help you determine when it’s a good time to start.
Not all allergy medicines work the same for all people, so find one that gives you the best results. Natural supplements may also provide some relief. Some believe that local honey is a natural option, as the pollen carried and used by the bees may help boost your immunity to those allergens, but it can actually do more harm than good.
You should also keep the windows closed, and make sure your house is as clean as possible, including the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. Consider getting a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to keep more allergens from circulating in your home. Also remember to clean your furniture, as it can hold a lot of dust and other allergens.
Prevention of Seasonal Allergy Reactions
You hear it all the time, but it is so true: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You can save yourself some miserable minutes if you take time to observe and prepare. Health journaling is a good way to keep tabs on your allergy symptoms and more accurately decide when to start your prevention practices.
You cannot prevent seasonal allergies, but you can prevent or at least minimize the effect the allergens have on you. Some steps you can take to prevent seasonal allergies reactions include:
- Take allergy medicine daily, as directed
- Do not have carpeting in your home. Carpeting can trap 100 times more allergens than bare floor.
- Use a HEPA vacuum for furniture
- Keep pets clean
- Keep yourself clean, particularly your hair, which can trap allergens
- Use air conditioning whenever possible
- Track pollen counts, and stay indoors on high pollen days
- Do outdoor work during low pollen times, usually pre-dawn and late-afternoon into evening
Always consult with your physician before taking any medication. If your allergies are persistent and/or severe, you may benefit from getting allergy testing done for more specific diagnosis and treatment.