Do you ever feel as if your allergies control your life? Here are five ways you can reclaim control.
1. Reduce your exposure to outdoor pollens.
- Limit your time outdoors, especially on windy days when pollen counts tend to be highest. When you breathe in the tiny pollen grains, they can trigger an allergic reaction.
- Delegate or hire someone to do outside lawn care that stir up allergens.
- If you go outside on a day with a high pollen count, be sure to shower and wash your hair to rinse off the pollen. Also put on fresh clothes.
2. Reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
- Keep windows closed to keep pollen out.
- House dust mites prefer humid environments. Use an air conditioner to cool your home, which helps reduce indoor humidity.
- Replace air conditioner filters regularly, every three months for most homes.
- Launder bed linens routinely to help control dust in the bed.
- It may be helpful to remove wall-to-wall carpeting if able to.
- Vacuum your carpets with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
- Consider using a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom if you’re allergic to pet dander.
3. Rinse your sinuses.
Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution, which is called nasal irrigation, to relieve nasal congestion. By rinsing your sinuses, you’ll directly flush out mucus and allergens from your nose.
4. Try over-the-counter allergy medications.
- Oral antihistamines, which can help to relieve itching, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Some examples of long-acting, low-sedating oral antihistamines are Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert).
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays, which can ease allergy symptoms and don’t have serious side effects. These are most effective to use before your symptoms even begin.
5. Visit your doctor.
If your allergy medicines aren’t effective, it is time to see an allergy specialist. The Allergist may recommend you get a skin or blood test to figure out exactly what allergens are triggering your symptoms. Once this is determined, your doctor will be able to prescribe the best allergy medicine for you.
Dr. Lyndall Harrison is a board-certified Allergy specialist who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Berthelsen Main Campus, Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center, and Summer Creek Clinic. His clinical interests include pediatric and adult asthma, as well as disorders of the immune system.