May 18, 2011

Coping With Allergy Season

Chances are if you have allergies, you ALREADY know it is allergy season! My allergist told me last week, as I was getting my monthly (and sometimes bi-monthly) shots, that he was busier in the past two weeks than he had been all winter! We’re right in the middle of tree pollen season and the stuff is everywhere! The season normally ends in mid June, but with the snowy winter and wet spring, it may go even longer this year. No small comfort for those of us who are plagued by coughing, sneezing, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes!

This year allergy season just seemed to explode all at once. Even people who have not had problems with allergies before are having problems now. Asthma sufferers have been hit with a vengeance! While medication can help allergies sufferers cope with this dreaded time of year, there are also things that you can do in your everyday life that can ease allergy symptoms and not make you a magnet for pollen.

First up, your hair. Long and loose hair will gather lots of pollen. Wearing it up will help. Wearing a hat will even add more protection. If you tend to use a lot of hair gel and hair spray, anything that makes your hair stickier, then it will hold onto more pollen. Wash your hair more often, especially before bed time; otherwise the pollen will end up in your bed sheets.  Wash clothes, bed linens and pillows more often.

If you get rashes, watery and itchy eyes, you may want to cut down on make-up. Avoid trying new products, as an allergic reaction to a new product coupled by the sensitivity to pollen won’t be fun. Wear sunglasses to avoid a head-on collision with a cloud of pollen, and rinse those glasses often. Contact lenses can also be a problem for allergy sufferers, switching to glasses, even for a few hours may help.

I would always get a major sinus infection during allergy season. Pounding headaches in addition to all of the other allergy symptoms used to make me spend most of my time during spring indoors. Once I discovered the neti pot, however, that all changed. The neti pot will thin the mucus in your nose and rinse sinus cavities, and not allow the pollen levels to build up and wreak havoc.  Even Doctor Oz thinks that it is one of the most effective ways to clear your sinus and lessen allergy symptoms.

I do listen daily to the allergy reports. On days there are high levels, I do limit my outdoor activities, if possible. No rollerblading around the park on those days! When home, I keep windows closed as not to contaminate my indoor environment. I shower and wash my hair before bed. Keep in minds that pets are also pollen sponges. Wash them more often, especially if they are sleeping on your bed!

Managing my allergies has taken me several years. But thankfully I can now enjoy spring and stop and smell the flowers!

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