If you sneeze so much that you’re considering buying stock in Kleenex, you may suffer from seasonal allergies. Also, known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, it occurs when your immune system overreacts to a substance that is usually not harmful. As a result, your immune system releases a chemical called histamine, which triggers your allergy symptoms.
Having allergies doesn’t mean you have to suffer. One of the most helpful things you can do is avoid allergens that make your symptoms flare. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Stay inside when mold and pollen counts are high.
- Keep your windows closed in your car and home. Use air conditioning instead.
- Regularly wash your bedding in hot water to get rid of dust mites.
- Remove wall-to-wall carpeting and use throw rugs you can wash instead.
- Fix household leaks to prevent mold.
- Relief from Symptoms
If you can’t completely avoid allergens, there are over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as treatments, that can reduce your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about which medicines might work best for you. Some examples include:
- Antihistamines to block the action of histamine to reduce your symptoms
- Decongestants to reduce stuffiness and pressure due to swelling in your nasal cavity
- Saline nasal sprays to help with nasal dryness
Finally, your doctor may suggest a treatment called immunotherapy. With immunotherapy, you’re exposed to very small amounts of the substances you’re allergic to, either through a shot or in a tablet placed under your tongue. With time, you become less sensitive to the allergen and your symptoms improve.
This post is brought to you by the Western Connecticut Health Network.