With spring fast approaching, we’re all looking forward to getting out of the house and enjoying some sunlight. Unfortunately, spring comes with a terrible cost: the potential for hay fever.
There’s no time like the present to prepare for allergy season. We’ve put together some solutions to help you get ready.
The first approach to manage your allergies is to avoid your specific allergens altogether. This takes many different angles that need to be considered.
First, we need to consider the great outdoors. Try to stay indoors on windy, dry days, as pollen spreads more on these types of days. When you do go out, try wearing a mask to keep pollen away from your nose. Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
It also helps to keep your exercise routine and other outdoor activities to early in the morning or late in the evening. Those times are generally when pollen counts are lowest.
After you’re done outside, remember to remove the clothes that were worn outside. Additionally, brush your pet clean to remove any pollen that they might have picked up.
While inside, use a high-efficiency particulate filter to get rid of pollen in the air. Also, make sure to change your air conditioning filters often.
Prevention is a low cost, low barrier solution to allergies. Anyone can participate, and often, you just need to make some minor changes in your behavior. These are simple solutions that can help you avoid the agony of allergies altogether.
Unfortunately, prevention efforts can ultimately fail. Plenty of these methods, while easy, can also become meticulous. If you use too many of them, they will result in allergies acting up. To make matters worse, unmedicated allergies can cause sinus or ear infections.
Best Case Use
The best case for the prevention of allergies would be if they’re mild and you’re on a budget. Otherwise, prevention is best used in combination with treatment.
Treatments include a wide array of medications and solutions. These medications include antihistamines and decongestants.
An antihistamine is taken to alleviate sneezing, itching, and watering eyes. A decongestant relieves your stuffy nose.
Another approach is to rinse your sinuses out with a saline solution. Pharmacies sell small squeeze bottles, or neti pots, that can be used to force water through your nostrils. This will flush out everything in your nose.
Treatment is a great way to relieve symptoms. It’s a great failsafe for when prevention fails. It can work well with a range and of severity of symptoms too.
Decongestants are a part of multiple treatments for allergies. While this is great news on the surface, it’s worth noting that decongestants can elevate blood pressure and heart rate. This can make them a risk for people with heart conditions. Decongestants can also make your symptoms worse if abused.
Best Use Case
Treatment is best for most cases of allergies in combination with prevention. It’s ideal for people with severe allergies who have no other major medical problems or conflicting medications.
Alongside prevention and treatment, there’s always one other option to consider: allergy shots. Allergy shots are injected with small amounts of the allergen in order to retrain your immune system to not overreact to them.
They’ve been shown to work well for patients with allergies and also with asthma.
Alternatively, you could try sublingual immunotherapy, which is like an allergy shot, except it takes the form of a small dose of allergen under your tongue, rather than by injection.
Long term, immunotherapy could potentially remove your allergies altogether. This is an ideal way to reduce all of the hassles that comes from dealing with allergies.
This solution wouldn’t be beneficial for children, as allergies change in children.
Furthermore, this solution needs a considerable amount of time to work. The estimated time frame for you to keep getting treatments is three to five years. It’s important to note that this treatment needs to be done in an allergen’s office, as there’s a risk of serious negative reactions.
Best Use Case
Immunotherapy is best suited to adults who have incredibly severe hay fever. Otherwise, it just isn’t worth the cost or the time.
Managing your allergies is best accomplished by starting before pollen starts to fill the air. Now is the time to begin looking into preventative measures. While we’re all looking forward to spring, it’s best to be prepared for all that it brings, the good and the bad.