Allergy season is well upon us, and unfortunately, according to the experts, it’s going to stick around for quite some time—possibly into late October in many parts of the U.S. A combination of environmental factors are to blame for this season’s plants producing prolific and powerful amounts of pollen—up to three to five times more than usual—leaving allergy sufferers sniffling, sneezing and wheezing in misery. However, there a number of steps you can take now to help alleviate those irksome symptoms.
- Get a diagnosis. To properly treat the problem, you have to know what the problem is. A simple test done by your allergist or family physician can determine if you suffer from seasonal allergies or if your symptoms are the result of exposure to a specific trigger.
- Start early. If you know you have seasonal allergies, don’t wait for the symptoms to flare up before seeking treatment. Your doctor may recommend a preventative regimen of antihistamines, steroids or eye drops.
- Know the pollen count. Make a habit of checking your local allergen levels, and keep windows closed and stay indoors as much as possible when the pollen count is high. It’s also a good idea to wash your hair and change your clothes at night to avoid bringing allergens into your bed.
- Accessorize. Oversized sunglasses are great for blocking airborne pollen, and wide-brimmed hats help shield allergens from landing in your hair or eyes.
- Be aware of dietary triggers. Up to a third of seasonal allergy sufferers also experience oral allergy syndrome, a cross-reaction caused by ingesting certain foods that results in a tingly mouth or itchy throat. Common culprits include carrots, celery, almonds, hazelnuts, and several fresh fruits. Though the reaction is rarely life-threatening, it’s best to avoid offending foods altogether during allergy season. iBi