Allergy Attack

By Kathleen Mory

If there’s one thing Lehigh Valley residents know, it’s that this area of Pennsylvania has a serious flow of seasonal allergies. Every year people around the Valley are sniffling, sneezing and coughing with watering eyes at the first sight of a blooming flower. It can truly put a damper on the loveliest of spring afternoons. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 40 million Americans have indoor and outdoor seasonal allergies as their primary allergies. Thankfully, there are things that a person can do to lessen the severity of symptoms or rid themselves of them altogether. Here are a few effective ways that one can help with their seasonal allergy symptoms:

Clean, Dust, Vacuum

Constant cleaning and dusting of one’s home can dramatically reduce the allergens in the air indoors. The less dust and allergens that are attached to the things you use in your daily life, the less likely you will suffer throughout spring. If a living space is left untouched for a long period of time, mites and allergens pile up and coat all surfaces. Homes with hardwood flooring are also easier to maintain during allergy and cold season. Carpet is a culprit for harboring dust, pollen, pet dander and many other allergy-inducing components. If cleaning isn’t enough on its own, have a HEPA filter put in your home and to leave it running throughout the season. By doing this, it will deplete the number of allergens in the air to start with, making cleaning a lot simpler and
more effective.

Eat Right, Be Healthy

It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during allergy season. Studies have shown that a person’s diet can affect how severe their seasonal allergies are. According to the National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, a study by the Department of Preventive Medicine concluded that a person with a high intake of essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3, had less
severe allergies.

Also, by washing your hair at night, you are getting rid of potential triggers that were gathered throughout the day instead of sleeping in them (which, regardless, sounds pretty
gross, right?).

Shut the Windows and Stay Inside

Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows and using window fans. This way, pollen and other allergens won’t be invited into your home. Physicians suggest staying indoors as much as possible to avoid allergies. If you have to go outside though, remember to take extra precautions. For example, when driving around during a beautiful spring day, use the air conditioning instead opening up the sun roof to cool off. This prevents allergens from sneaking into the car and permeating surfaces that may not be cleaned frequently.

Change Your Clothing

The type of clothing you wear can also have a great effect on the amount of allergens that surround you. Heavier fabrics, such as wool, tend to attract and gather more germs and mites in their material. The Mayo Clinic urges people to not hang their clothing out on their clotheslines during the spring season. Pollen and dust from the outside will cling to the clean clothing. Then, since most people don’t immediately wear all the clothing that they clean, those allergens will live in the clothing, inside the home, until they are washed, again. This means, you could be breathing in
those allergens.

Natural Remedies

There are also natural methods that help prevent seasonal allergies. Since nasal congestion is a symptom that is associated with all forms of season allergies, it is important to continually rinse out your sinuses. This can be done by using a nasal irrigation system, such as a NetiPot, which contains a sterile saline solution that flushes out the mucus and allergens from inside the nasal cavity. These can be found at a local pharmacy or
health store.

Many people turn to remedies that include natural extracts to curb their symptoms. Extracts such as shrub butterbur and dried algae have been believed to help. However, the results of how effective the treatments are have not been determined, so speak with your physician before heading down this path
for treatment.

Talk to Your Doc

Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if symptoms become overwhelming and persistent. A physician can suggest numerous over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as Claritan or Nasonex, that ease even the toughest of allergies. Many medications include a decongestant which helps to reduce the amount of nasal pressure often associated with allergies.

There are blood tests that a physician can run to help single out certain allergens and narrow down an individual’s triggers. By singling out the specific allergens that cause an individual to be symptomatic, a physician can suggest a more effective treatment. This will provide an individual with relief faster in future seasons.

With living in an area that has record-breaking allergy seasons, year after year, we must prepare ourselves in the best way we know how. By maintaining a lifestyle that protects against, rather than feeding into, the particles in the air, you can finally start enjoying the outside world, again. Each person’s seasonal allergies are different, however, so learn what works best for you.

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