Along with longer days and warmer sunshine, spring brings a bounty of allergens.
Symptoms can include sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, and headaches.
There are a variety of steps you can take to prevent, and treat, seasonal allergies.
Ah, springtime! Days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer, and your seasonal allergies — well, they are letting you know they’re still there. If excessive sniffles, itchy eyes, a sore throat, and allergic shiners are making you miserable, try the following six natural allergy hacks.
Stay inside during peak times.
Did you know that pollen concentration is generally highest from just before sunrise until about 10:00 a.m., and then again in the early evening? For those suffering from allergies, these are good times to stay indoors, with windows closed and air conditioning on. If you need to go out, keep your car windows rolled up and be aware of local allergy forecasts in case of severe conditions. Wearing a mask outdoors may also be helpful.
Change your clothes after being outside.
Pollen can attach itself to whatever you wear, so place your outdoor clothing directly into the hamper when you get home, and put on something fresh and clean. Don’t forget to leave your shoes at the door so that allergens aren’t spread throughout the house — and wash your hands and face upon arrival, as well.
Take a shower before bed.
Washing your hair and body each night can help keep your bed allergen-free. Also, launder all sheets, pillowcases and bedding once a week in hot water, and consider using allergen-proof protective covers on pillows and mattresses.
Give pets a bath.
We all love our furry friends, but they are a constant source of pet dander, which can aggravate symptoms. Pets can also track in allergens from outside. Bathing them regularly keeps all of this at bay. If pets are a constant source of allergies for you, medication— or, in extreme cases, finding them a new home — may be options.
Use a neti pot (but only with sterile, distilled, or boiled water).
Saline nasal irrigation may sound unpleasant to the uninitiated, but research shows that it reduces overall symptom severity. Follow instructions for proper use and use only distilled or sterile water. Do not use tap water as a nasal rinse unless it has been boiled for at least 5 minutes and cooled until lukewarm. An over-the-counter sterile saline spray is another alternative.
Treat yourself to a steam facial.
Steam inhalation may provide allergy relief for some sufferers. This may be particularly beneficial for those with related headaches. Instructions: pour boiling water into a large bowl; drape a towel over the back of your head; lower your head about 8-12 inches away from the hot water; and inhale deeply for about 5 minutes.
Check out this infographic about ways to change your environment for easier breathing.
Need relief from allergy symptoms? Book an appointment online at a Providence Express Care clinic for same-day urgent care services.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.