Allergy season – watery eyes, the sniffles, sore throats and more. For some, depending on where you live, your season may already be in full swing. For others, your turn is just around the corner…
No one enjoys allergies…except perhaps the drug makers who rely on consumers to stock up on allergy meds many need to survive the season.
What Can We Expect This Allergy Season?
Due to the mild winter, spring has sprung sooner than usual. This couldn’t have come as a surprise. I mean, you did notice Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction on Groundhog Day this year, right? No shadow meant an early spring.
For those who live in the Southeast, intense pollen concentrations will be the norm. This includes residents of Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The high concentration of pollen can cause some of the most unpleasant reactions.
For the optimists among you, doing a little rain dance may be in order. Meteorologists report that wet weather can help keep temporarily keep pollen under control. From the mid-Atlantic north, more moderate levels of pollen are expected than for those in the Southeast.
Survival Tips for Allergy Season
Knowing about allergy season is one thing; understanding survival strategies is quite another. The implementation of such strategies can make a huge difference in the life of your family over the coming months.
Shape Magazine compiled a helpful list of ways to combat allergy season. While you may want to consult the website for a more exhaustive list, here is a brief allergy survival guide:
1. End With a Shower – Many people opt to shower in the morning. Getting clean to start the day just makes sense. But during allergy season, the allergens that attach to our clothes and body can easily make their way into bed and transfer to the pillow which can irritate. Washing at night is one way to combat the possibility of pollen transference.
2. More Laundry – While doing the laundry never tops anyone’s “laundry list,” it may be just the thing that should be there at this time of year. The more time spent outdoors, the more allergens on our clothes. A team of Korean researchers recently determined that water heated to 140 degrees F effectively eliminates allergens.
3. Managing Pets – Are you among those who allow your pet to share your bed? If so, this is NOT the time of season to continue that practice. The amount of pollen they collect in their fur is easily transported into your home…and into your bed Wipe your pet down with a moistened cloth after they’ve been outside.
4. Invest in an Air Purifier – The indoors don’t offer the same clean air that one can find outside. If cleaning products or certain fragrances bother you, consider purchasing an air purifier. They aren’t cheap ($250 for one suggested Target model), but they can make a huge difference in breathing easier.
5. Post-Rain Run – According to Dr. Gillian Shepherd of Cornell University, “the best time to hit the pavement is immediately after a downpour, because the moisture washes away the pollen for up to several hours.” Once the air dries, however, the added moisture produces even greater amounts of pollen and mold…sometimes for days.
6. The Power of Hydration – The more water we drink, the clearer our airways tend to be. Fluids assist in thinning mucus so you don’t get stuffed up. So when working out, grab a water bottle or hydration pack.
7. Spray and Shots – Sometimes pills just won’t do. Thankfully, a variety of spray products (e.g. Veramyst, Flonase, or Nasonex) can ease watery eyes and runny noses. Shots are important as well.
Allergy shots, sometimes known as immunotherapy, are often suggested for those affected by allergies for more than three months a year. Shots are gradually given in higher doses one to three times per week over a seven-month period. Afterwards you’ll only need the shots once a month for three to five years.
You may hate needles, but the potential of asthma prevention may be well worth the discomfort.
So remember, allergy season is a very real pest, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. Think about where you live, your family habits, and consider strategies you can employ to make life a little easier during these months. Sometimes having a plan can make all the difference!