Runny, drippy nose, itchy, watery eyes, rashes and hives, sneezing, sniffling, coughing, scratching; over half of Americans suffer from some kind of seasonal allergy, and they are suffering more and for a longer period of time than ever before.
Millions of dollars are spent every year on prescription and over-the-counter medications, some with side-effects that can make the treatment more of a problem than the ailment. Drowsiness is the most common, but included in the list are high blood pressure, dizziness, and rebound effect where symptoms become even worse over time.
Millions of dollars are also spent every year on trying to control the environment and keep it clear of allergens. A good air purifier can easily cost over $1,000.00. Short of living in a sterile bubble, this approach is the least likely to succeed – there is simply too much ground to cover.
Before you stockpile the medicine cabinet or seal yourself in your house for the summer (or maybe move to Antarctica), try some small changes that can make a big difference – and they are as easy to remember as the instructions on a bottle of shampoo.
We’re constantly reminded of the importance of washing our hands, particularly during flu season. It is just as important during allergy season, and for the same reason: if you have pollen on your hands, you can transfer that much more to your eyes and nose. Bathing, too, washes away any allergens clinging to your person, and a hot shower does wonders for sinus pressure.
Pollen clings to clothes, too. For yard work, use washable gloves and have at least two pair. Switch to a clean pair every time you work in the yard, and wash them in between. Have a garage or porch spot outside of the house to store shoes and hats and brush or wash them down often. Try to have a spot in or near the laundry room where clothes can be removed and washed, preferably outside of the living areas.
Watering is good for flowerbeds, and using a mist sprinkler rinses away many of the allergens. Regularly hosing down porches, patios and window screens also helps to keep the pollen down; dry, dusty air carries allergens more easily.
Use a simple saline nasal spray, or better yet, a neti pot to rinse nasal passages. Around for thousands of years, nasal irrigation is proven to be an effective alternative to medications and without the serious side effects. Saline eye drops or artificial tears cleanse and moisten eyes without all the chemicals. For rashes and hives, inexpensive calamine lotion is one the best treatments around.
Make a habit of keeping the allergens down (around your yard and in your house) and out (of your nose, eyes, and mouth), and you will find you can reduce or even eliminate allergy symptoms without the extra cost and bothersome side effects.