It’s that time of year again – time for the itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat and congestion commonly associated with allergy season.

Because of climate changes, this season is expected to be worse than years past.  Here are some tips for surviving this allergy season:

You likely have a good idea about what triggers your allergies, and do everything possible to avoid them; but why not make an appointment with an allergy specialist to pinpoint exactly what you’re allergic to?

This will allow you to fight allergies in two ways: First, you can identify and avoid the trigger(s) and second, you can use more targeted treatments.  While you’re there, speak with your physician about allergy shots.  Often given over a period of a couple years, they can be a very effective way to relieve allergy symptoms.

If medicines are not how you want to treat your allergies, and you instead want some natural remedies, here are some suggestions:

  • Be sure to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night.  This will allow your body to repair and rest after a long day.  Fatigue can be an additional stressor on your body and distract from the healing abilities of sleep.  Eating a healthy, balanced diet will also help your immune system stay healthy and able to fight off allergens.
  • Minimize the amount of pollen indoors by keeping your windows closed and leaving pollen-covered clothing items outside.  Even showering off after enjoying the great outdoors can help.  Furthermore, washing your bedroom sheets, towels and blankets in hot water more regularly than usual can also help reduce pollen and dust mites in the home.  Check to see if you can purchase a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter for your vacuum; this can help rid your carpets of trapped allergens.
  • If you typically exercise in the morning, when the pollen count is high, switch to a later time of day when you won’t be as affected.
  • Try saline nasal irrigation to help rid your nasal passages of pollen; an overwhelming majority of allergens wreak havoc on your body by entering via this route.  Neti pots are specially designed for this purpose.  Remember to keep these devices as clean and dry as possible to prevent any bacterial growth.

Allergy season doesn’t have to keep you indoors – learn how and why your body reacts to different allergens, how to effectively treat them and move on with your life.

As always, check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter allergy medications to ensure you don’t encounter any drug interactions.