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Spring’s here! This means trees in full bloom, sunny skies, butterflies all over, flowers and… allergic reactions.
Be it irritable skin rashes, unending sneezing and weeping more than you did at the end of Titanic, allergies can sure prevent us from enjoying spring to its fullest. Here’s a handy guide to dealing with allergies, and with pollen allergies in particular.
1. Know what you’re allergic to
While most people would rather know what disease they caught so they can treat it more efficiently, the attitude seems much more lax regarding non-lethal allergies, which are treated as some minor nuisance we’re expected to simply work through. The truth is an allergic reaction could be every bit as hard to cope with, and every bit as taxing on the body as a fever. Get a professional diagnosis from an allergist; not only will you be better equipped to avoid the things that make you scratch and sneeze, but an allergist will be able to assign care that will be tailored specifically to your condition.
2. Check what the pollen count is
Many people may not be aware of this due to the aforementioned stigma about allergies, but there are many websites, including most major weather forecast pages, that provide you with a pollen allergen forecast for the day. Check the pollen count in the air and adjust your daily routine accordingly. Pollen tends to be the highest during afternoon, so on particularly harsh days, do your outside chores first thing in the morning and try to stay indoors as much as possible.
3. Close for pollen, open for dust
Depending on your allergy, you’d want to prepare your house differently. For allergies to pollen, close your house as much as possible and use air-conditioning, but for allergies to in-house nuisances like mold and dust, you should air out your home as much as possible by opening the windows.
4. Change your clothes often
Don’t track your allergens through the house. Take a shower to wash any trace allergens off and change to a fresh set of clothes as soon as you get back home. You should also make sure to wash your clothes often, rather than letting them lie in the hamper with pollen on them for days on end.
5. Rinse your nostrils
Do a saltwater nose rinse using a neti pot or spray to clean out your sinuses and reduce the inflammation associated with an allergic reaction. Saline solution is not only drug-free and carries no risk of addiction, but it is easy to make at home: distill some water by using a distiller or boiling and then cooling it, add some salt and you’ve got a saline solution.
6. Try a steam inhalation
A more temporary relief for your beleaguered sinuses can be found in steam inhalations. By breathing in the vapors from a pot of boiling water through your nostrils, you can find a reprieve from nasal congestion, at least for some time.
7. Keep your face cool
This may seem counterintuitive in the case of sneezing, but by pressing an icepack or a cold washcloth to your face around the area of your sinuses, you can mitigate the swelling of cells due to allergic inflammation, thus alleviating many of the allergic symptoms, such as a runny nose or constantly watery eyes.
8. Wear a mask
If you’re allergic to pollen and need to go outside, wear a surgical mask. It will help filter out the pollen particles that are causing you so much grief. And I know what you might be thinking: “but I’ll look silly!” Well, counting the many ill-informed decisions we make because of a misplaced sense of “fashion” will require an entire article, so suffice to say, if the dilemma is between looking a bit peculiar and suffering through a day of sneezing and runny eyes, the choice seems rather obvious.