Symptoms of allergies include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching, coughing, wheezing, and itchy-watery eyes. They can also contribute to sinus infections, ear infections, and asthma. You can treat your allergies with over the counter medications, or have immunotherapy treatments. Immunotherapy treatment is a treatment to desensitize allergies through allergy shots or allergy drops. Treatment length is about 3 to 5 years and immunity is usually maintained for several more years.
While medications are helpful in treating allergy symptoms, avoidance is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. Here are 10 tips for getting allergy relief and decreasing allergen exposure:
- Take allergy medication at night before bed so the medicine will already be in your system in the morning when allergy symptoms are often the worst.
- Check an online pollen tracker (like pollen.com) to know when counts are high.
- Avoid the outdoors between 5am and 10am and save outside activities, errands, or workouts for the late afternoon or after a heavy rain when pollen levels are lower.
- Keep windows in your home and car closed when counts are high. Use an air conditioner (not fans) to keep cool, and use the car's air recirculation option while driving.
- If allergic to grass, have someone else do the mowing. If you must mow it yourself, wear a mask. Keep grass cut short.
- Dry clothes in an automatic dryer rather than hanging them outside. Pollen can collect on clothing and be carried indoors.
- Wash bedding in hot water weekly. Showering before bed also helps reduce the pollen from being transferred from your skin and hair to your bed.
- Add a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to help remove circulating allergens.
- Bathe pets and wash their bedding weekly. Keep pets outside if possible, minimize their contact with couches, and banish them from your bedroom to keep dander to a minimum.
- Clean your home regularly. Frequent, light cleanings are the best way keep hard surfaces sanitized and reduces exposure to airborne dust and allergens.
If you have severe reactions, or aren't sure what you're allergic to, see an allergist for testing and treatment options. Thanks to University of Utah Health Care for the free allergy test and for all the helpful information!