Seasonal allergies, the body’s response to airborne particles such as pollen or mold, generally rise during the times of year when certain trees, grasses, weeds or plants are in flower, or when mold releases its spores into the air. The Lone Star State is home to many allergy-inducing trees and grasses. In Texas we live alongside plants and trees that make people sneeze and wheeze.
Typically, allergy season starts in the spring and fall when certain trees or grasses pollinate. That being said, with the continuous change of weather we have been experiencing in Houston, allergy symptoms are already on the rise.
A combination of genetics and interaction with these environmental allergens causes some people to develop seasonal allergies. Mistaking harmless allergens for a disease-causing agent, your body begins to produce antibodies to fight it off, just as it would for an attacking virus. The body then releases histamines, chemicals that trigger inflammation and increased secretions of the sinuses, nose and eyes.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies:
Seasonal allergies not only make life miserable, but if left untreated they can lead to greater long-term health complications, such as sinusitis, fungal complications of your sinuses or lungs, migraines, ear infections and asthma. Even though symptoms may not always be severe, seasonal allergies should be properly diagnosed and treated.
1. Prevention is Key
The best way to fight allergies is to avoid them. To keep allergies at bay, try the following tips:
. Stay indoors when pollen levels are high
. Wear a mask outside — especially when mowing or working in the garden
. Wash pillows and vacuum mattresses often
. Linens should be washed in a water temperature of at least 140 degrees
. Keep pets out of the bedroom
. Run a brush dipped in distilled water over your pet every day to trap dander
. Bathe your pet once a week
2. Use a Sinus Rinse
If you suffer from a stuffy nose brought on by allergies, flushing out your sinus cavity can give some much-needed relief. You can use a syringe or other type of squeeze bottle filled with a mixture of one teaspoon baking soda, three teaspoons (iodide-free) salt and eight ounces of warm distilled water. For a slightly more thorough rinse, consider a neti pot filled with saline solution. Only use distilled or sterile water. Both rinses can effectively remove irritants, pollens and loosen mucus from the sinus cavity. The syringe/squeeze bottle method is often preferred over the neti pot since there is less of a chance fluids will run down the back of your throat with this technique.
3. Take an Antihistamine
When your allergies flare up, your body produces a chemical called histamine. Taking an antihistamine counteracts this chemical and relief is provided from your allergies. Some popular over-the-counter antihistamines that are also touted to be non-drowsy are Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin. These antihistamines can be alternated every 12 hours for added relief from allergy symptoms. There are also over-the-counter nasal sprays available such as Flonase and Nasacort. The nasal sprays can help with inflammation, itchy eyes, and runny nose and can aid in preventing the reoccurrence of these symptoms. Both Flonase and Nasacort can be used as long as needed. Decongestants, such as Allegra-D, can shrink tissues and blood vessels in the nose and can help to reduce nasal swelling. However, a decongestant should not be used for more than a three-day period. Otherwise, the opposite effect can result, and swelling can become worse instead of better.
4. Try Some Local Raw Honey
Local raw honey contains small amounts of tree and grass allergens so ingesting it can help to build a body's immunity. In order to gain the best results, the honey needs to come from a local source. If you prefer, you can steep one teaspoon of honey, with a ¼ tsp lemon juice, and a ¼ tsp cinnamon and then drink the mixture as a tea.
5. Switch to HEPA Filters
HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air filter, traps allergens, dust, pet dander, and other irritants that become airborne. These types of filters reduce common allergy triggers by purifying the air. HEPA filters are available as air filters for your heating and cooling unit and for use in conjunction with vacuum cleaners.
6. Take a Hot Shower
A hot, steamy shower can help to open nasal passages and soothe achy sinuses. A cool rag placed over the eyes can also help to reduce inflammation and itching. When coming in from outdoors, always shower and change clothes to remove allergens from your skin and hair.
7. Use a Vaporizer
Steam from a vaporizer can moisten a dry nasal cavity and flush out nose mucus. Simply drape a towel over both your head and the vaporizer unit for five to ten minutes. Eucalyptus oil, which contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, can be used in conjunction with a vaporizer and other steam inhalers. Eucalyptus oil creates a menthol-like sensation, working to open sinus passages.
8. Keep Your Home Cool and Dry
Dust mites, mold, and mildew thrive in warm, damp conditions which means to avoid these allergy triggers; your home needs to be kept cool and dry. The temperature in your home should be kept around 70 degrees or below, and humidity levels should be between 40 to 45 percent. Installing exhaust fans in your laundry room and bathrooms can also aid in keeping the home dry. While not always feasible, another way to keep the home drier and drastically reduce allergens is to replace all carpet with hardwood floors, linoleum, or tile.
If you suspect you are suffering from seasonal allergies, you don’t have to live in discomfort. You should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night. Urgent Clinics Medical Care can help treat your allergy symptoms and put you on a path to a more comfortable life. Don’t go another day suffering from allergies. Call today, 843-Urgent-1 (843-874-3687) or just walk into any of our convenient locations in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open 8 am to midnight 7 days a week.