Spring has been slow in coming to the Northeast this year, with lingering cold temperatures and the occasional flurry. But it was abundantly clear that spring weather is on its way at a family gathering this past weekend when my highly allergic brother sneezed no less than 100 times. I could be exaggerating the number, but I think he’d agree that there may as well have been that many. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Once the weather warms up and flowers and trees begin to bloom, he’ll likely add watery and itchy eyes, stuffy and runny nose, and a scratchy throat to his list of seasonal allergy symptoms.
But my brother and other allergy sufferers like him don’t have to take their seasonal allergies lying down. Here are some tips for surviving spring allergy season:
Don’t just bounce from medication to medication. See an allergist who can perform a test to identify exactly what you or your child are allergic to, which will help determine the best way to treat it. An allergist can also administer allergy shots which will cure you of your allergies. Or, try a neti pot – but ask your pediatrician before using it on your child.
Maybe it’s not seasonal allergies. There could be other things in your environment that are triggering you. To rule out other possibilities, be sure to wash bedding in hot water every two weeks (to guard against dust mites), use a non-toxic pest repellent in your home to rid it of cockroaches and other pests, and avoid products with added fragrance.
Be proactive about treating your allergies. If there is a treatment that brings you or your child relief, begin taking it or giving it to your child before the season changes and symptoms kick in.
Keep triggers out of your home. Keep windows closed and use air conditioning as much as possible. Wash clothing and shower after spending time outdoors. Vacuum often and consider using a HEPA filter in your or your child’s bedroom. Don’t dry clothes and bedding on a line outdoors.
Leave mowing and other outdoor chores to someone else. If you have to do work outdoors, consider wearing a mask over your mouth and nose, and don’t allow your allergic little one to pitch in.
Add more broccoli, kale, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, parsley, and collard greens to your diet. These foods contain vitamins and nutrients that may help fight hay fever.
Check the weather and pollen forecasts. Avoid spending time outdoors on dry, windy days, or when the pollen count is high. The best times to go out are the evening and after a heavy rain.
To learn more about what to expect from a doctor appointment for seasonal allergies, including questions to ask and possible courses of treatment, read our Vitals Seasonal Allergies Patient Guide.
Sources: rodale.com and mayoclinic.com