Our southern Illinois spring feels like a Katy Perry song. It’s hot and it’s cold. With the recent fluctuations in temperatures, folks suffering from sinus and allergy issues are taking a bit of a hit.
There are plenty of things you can do to avoid the sneezing and wheezing associated with the condition. SIH Medical Medical Group Allergist and Immunologist, Jeff Lehman, MD, recommends over-the-counter options. If those don’t work, a prescription, or even allergy shots, may be needed.
Meanwhile, a few lifestyle modifications can also help you find relief and enjoy spring. Here are five tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
- The feel of cotton – For allergy suffers, not all clothing materials are created equal. Research shows that when synthetic fabrics rub against one another, they create an electrical charge that attracts pollen, which, as it turns out, is also electrically charged. Natural fibers such as cotton also breathe better, so they stay drier and less hospitable to moisture-loving mold.
- Adjust your workout routine – After months indoors, you can’t wait to exercise outside. However, exercising causes you to breathe more deeply and inhale the pollen that affects your allergy symptoms. If you’re planning a vigorous workout, try to stay indoors and if you’re planning on taking a casual walk, take a nondrowsy antihistamine before you go. Exercise outdoors when pollen counts are at their lowest – before dawn and in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Garden smart – Think your spring allergies are going to force you to quit gardening? Think again. Taking an antihistamine about half an hour before you head outside will help. You should also wear gloves and a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask if your tasks including digging in the dirt, which can stir up pollen. Avoid touching your eyes, and be sure to wash your hands, hair and clothing once you go back indoors.
- Take something a little stronger – Over-the-counter intranasal steroids (nasal sprays) as well as non-drowsy antihistamines and decongestants can be beneficial for those suffering from mild allergies. However, people suffering from more severe allergies will benefit from seeing an allergist. Many severe allergy sufferers find relief in immunotherapy – allergy shots that help the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen. While there is no cure for the more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, immunotherapy is known to modify and prevent disease progression.
- Eliminate uninvited guests – You can make your spring allergies more bearable by limiting your exposure to indoor allergens. Vacuum your furniture, leave your shoes by the door, shower frequently, cover your floors with washable throw rugs and use a dehumidifier to limit your mold exposure. All of these steps will help, and look for a good air purifier with a HEPA filter.