For about 30 percent of the adult population, springtime means more than just blooming flowers, chirping birds and Easter eggs. For that 30 percent, spring can mean pain, misery and excessive bodily fluid output.
That’s right, I’m talking about allergies. Those who are cursed with this affliction know what kind of horrors can await them when the sun starts to shine and the temperature starts to warm. Seasonal allergies can be a pain; one moment you’re breathing in the fresh air, the next you’re sneezing out the pound of pollen you just inhaled.
During the spring, plants — like ragweed, a notorious allergen — can let loose millions of pollen grains per day. Since it only takes a few grains per yard to elicit an allergic reaction, this time of year can be a bumpy ride for many.
So in the spirit of the season, here are some tips to help you survive the next few months:
1. Set an alarm for allergy medication
Taking antihistamines regularly is crucial during allergy season, especially before the onset of your symptoms. By setting a regular time at which you’re supposed to take your Zyrtec or spray your Flonase, you’re making sure that you always have the medication in your system, thus keeping you continuously protected.
2. Stay inside
While the nice weather may be tempting you to go outside, it might be better to stay in if the pollen counts are looking particularly high like on windy days. Just close all your windows, turn on a fan (for air circulation) and curl up with a nice book (or some nice homework, if that’s your thing).
3. Keep clean
Pollen and other allergens can cling to you throughout the day, so when you get home, be sure to change out of your day clothes right away and take a shower to get rid of all those pesky particles. Showering can also help with congestion and itchiness!
4. Police your pet
No pet is truly hypoallergenic — even hairless cats can produce some amount of dander, as well as bring in pollen from their outside excursions, and fish tanks can be host to fungal spores. Think twice about adopting Fido from your local animal shelter, and if you already have a pet, be sure they stay inside and/or bathe often.
5. Wear a mask
Fashion face masks are totally becoming a thing, and if you’re interested in being fashion-forward, you can hit two birds with one stone by donning a bedazzled surgical mask. Your nose and your mouth are the main entry points for allergens, so having that barrier can reduce your symptoms as you walk around outside.
Have you ever noticed that when you travel your allergies miraculously disappear? Different areas have different kinds of pollen, and when you stay in one place for a while, your body develops sensitivities to the allergens in that one area. If your allergies really are beating you up and if you have the resources, maybe it’s best if you start living the nomadic lifestyle and become a globetrotter. See the world and never sneeze again! Sounds like a win-win, right?
In the end, if you have any kind of allergy, seasonal or otherwise, they’re probably going to stick with you — and most likely get worse — as you age. The best solution would be identifying your triggers and practicing good preventative habits. Just remember you’re not alone in your efforts, and if you’re facing a particularly miserable patch, go consult a doctor for other available treatment options.
Photo by Martin Musialczyk