It's the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is warming up. The grass is growing. The flowers are blooming. The birds are frolicking. But a lovely day outside can lead to a mess of allergy symptoms later. Over the counter medication helps, but there are a number of other things you can do to help lessen your allergy symptoms. Try a few of the following and see if they help you.
1. Close the windows at home. Here in Texas, we only have a brief window of time where we can have the windows open at night before it gets too hot. It's so tempting to sleep with the windows open on the cool spring nights. But, if anyone if your home suffers from bad seasonal allergies, consider keeping the windows closed and replacing your A/C filter with a HEPA filter to capture some of the extra allergens before they make it into your home.
2. Wear a mask. (We should all still have a few lying around). Wearing a mask, especially when doing yard work like mowing, or indoor work like vacuuming or cleaning out a dusty room, will filter out a significant amount of allergen particles. And the less you breathe in, the fewer symptoms you will have.
3. Consider a nasal rinse or neti pot. Nasal rinses, which use a saline solution, are fantastic for rinsing out debris from the nasal cavity. If you've never used one, jump on YouTube and watch a tutorial. They are awkward at first, but once you learn how to get your head tilted the right way to flush the water through the nasal passage, they are so helpful.
4. Stay hydrated. If you're congested, drinking additional water will help thin the mucus. If you are taking allergy medication or decongestants as well, it's even more important to stay hydrated because those can be very drying. And as a bonus, hot tea or broth can be hydrating and soothing.
5. Wash up! (Again, this should sound very familiar after two years of Covid precautions). When you get home, wash your hands and your face. If you have been doing an activity that has exposed you to a lot of allergens, like mowing the yard or sitting in the grass at the park, you'll want to change clothes and shower as well. Also consider what your four-legged friends are bringing in. If you've taken the dog for a walk in the park and they've rolled around in the grass, you'll want to bathe them, or at least wipe them down with a cleansing wipe.
6. Avoid smoke. Of course, you want to avoid cigarette smoke for all kinds of reasons, but also campfires. If you are enjoying an evening around a smoky campfire, you definitely want to consider that nasal rinse. Get all that gunk out of your nasal passage before it gets inside your body.
7. Find your triggers. If you don't know what is triggering your allergies or you can't find relief with natural mitigation and over the counter medication, you can seek help from an allergist. They can run tests to find out what you are most allergic to so that you can avoid those things or take more precautions.