Trees, grass, headaches, runny noses and itchy throats…what do they all have in common? You guessed it – allergy season!
If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, you are a pro at dealing with itchy throats, noses, and eyes two times a year, once in the spring and again in the fall season. We allergy sufferers are up on the latest pollen and weed counts, and can’t wait for that last lawn mowing of the season so we can get a break from the sinus pressure in our heads and the puffiness under our eyes.
My three children and myself all suffer from seasonal allergies, so we have to be extremely cautious about reducing allergens in our home, especially in the spring and fall seasons.
Below are my top 20 tips for keeping allergens under control and allergy attacks at bay:
1. Watch the weather. Make notes of rainy days and pollen counts, this way you are prepared before you even leave the house in the morning. Follow the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s National Allergy Bureau of daily pollen and mold levels in your area at www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx.
2. If pollens count are high, skip going outdoors until later in the day when the pollen count is lower. Pollen counts usually peak between 10 am and 4 pm.
3. Wear sunglasses when heading outdoors to keep the pollen from entering your eyes.
4. Choose landscape plants carefully. Know which plants affect your allergies, and make sure those plants don’t end up planted in your front or back yard.
5. Have someone else mow your lawn. Avoid sitting on or near freshly cut grass.
6. Change the filters in your air conditioner and furnaces often.
7. Reduce the amount of pollen you track into your home by leaving your shoes at the door.
8. Wipe down pet coats and paws when pets return from outdoors, because pollen loves to stick to their fur.
9. Shower and wash your hair at night so that pollen collected throughout the day doesn’t end up in your bed or on your pillow. Pollen loves to stick to our hair too! This is a “must do” rule in our home every night!
10. On high pollen days, keep the windows and doors closed. Use your home air conditioner or an air purifier instead. When in the car, keep your windows closed. Instead, use the air conditioner on the air re-circulate setting.
11. If mold spores are the cause of your allergies, keep your home humidity level below 60%. Using a dehumidifier will help control the humidity level in your home.
12. Use your dryer to dry your clothes, not the clothesline.
13. Modify your diet during allergy season to include nutrients like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids and also Vitamin C. Steer clear of foods that will increase your mucus content, which, in turn, stimulates the body to produce more histamines that can cause stuffy heads, sneezing, and itchy throats and eyes.
14. Pile up on the fluids. I cannot stress this enough. Drink lots of water. It clears my head out and works every time.
15. Spices like garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, and ginger added to your meals all have properties that help reduce mucus reduce inflammation. Check with a nutritionist before modifying your diet.
16. To help decrease congestion, inhale steam from a hot bath, a cup of hot water, or a humidifier.
17. Wash your nasal passages with a Neti pot and a mixture of one teaspoon of salt with two cups warm water. Don’t own a Neti pot? Just pour the salt solution into the palm of your hands and inhale the solution, one nostril at a time.
18. Massaging your sinus pressure points through massage or acupuncture can help relax the muscles, open up the sinuses and reduce your symptoms. Two great acupressure points are the point between your thumb and index finger, and the back of the skull between the ear and the neck.
19. Reduce your stress level. Health is negatively affected by high levels of stress.
20. Use green cleaning solutions and eliminate synthetic fragrances like air fresheners from your home – many traditional household products and cleaners contain ingredients that can trigger allergy attacks or make them worse.
Implementing these 20 tips can help you make great improvements in your quality of life through reduced exposure to allergens indoors and outdoors this fall season.