Preventing and Treating Spring Allergies

Itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing – spring allergies can be a nuisance. Also called allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies develop when the immune system overreacts to environmental particles such as dust, pollen, or mold.

In the spring, the air is full of pollen and it seems like there is no safe place to breathe. Fortunately, spring allergies are common and treatable. Preventive measures can help reduce symptoms and minimize exposure, especially when combined with allergy medications.

Take oral antihistamines

Oral antihistamines, available over the counter or by prescription, are a common treatment for spring allergies. antihistamines work by blocking a chemical called histamine, which is responsible for allergic reactions.

According to Cleveland Clinic, different antihistamines work better for different people. They can cause drowsiness and may interact with other medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on which antihistamines to try.

man is about to take medication with water PeopleImages/Getty Images

Use eye drops

For allergies that cause itchy, watery eyes, different types of from eye drops can provide relief. Artificial tears can soothe dry eyes and flush out allergens. Decongestant eye drops, which may contain an antihistamine, can reduce eye redness but may make symptoms worse if used for more than two or three days.

Steroid eye drops treat itching and swelling. Because they can cause serious side effects, this type should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.

man applying eye drops outdoors ProfessionalStudioImages/Getty Images

Try Nasal Sprays

Cromolyn Sodium is an over-the-counter nasal spray used to prevent allergy symptoms. It is best to use cromolyn sodium spray before allergy season as it can take up to 4 weeks to start working.

Steroid sprays are available over the counter or by prescription. They relieve the swelling of the nose, but they can take up to 2 weeks to start working. Decongestant nasal sprays are available without a prescription. They treat allergy symptoms, but can cause dependence if used for more than a few days.

woman using a nasal spray SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

Look at immunotherapy

Immunotherapy involves desensitizing the immune system. It is usually given through regular injections, but there are also tablets that are absorbed under the tongue.

The shots or tablets contain small amounts of allergens, which increase over time. The immune system gradually gets used to the allergens and the symptoms become less severe. Immunotherapy takes time — three to six months of weekly doses and then three to five years of monthly doses.

doctor giving a patient injection Foremniakowski / Getty Images

Ask Your Doctor About Leukotriene Modifiers

Leukotriene is a chemical, similar to histamine, that the immune system releases in response to allergens. leukotriene modifiers by blocking the effects of these chemicals. They can treat breathing difficulties — such as coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness — associated with spring allergies and are available by prescription only.

Doctor writes out RX prescription 18percentgrey / Getty Images

Reduce exposure to pollen

The easiest way to reduce pollen exposure is to: keep windows and doors closed during allergy season. Change clothes that have been worn outdoors and avoid hanging laundry on outside lines, such as: pollen can collect on fabric

Consider taking a shower to remove pollen from your hair and skin after you’ve been outside. If possible, plan your longer outdoor time after it rains, when there is less pollen in the air, and limit outdoor activities on windy days.

woman closes window dangrytsku / Getty Images

Wear protective coverings outside

An easy way to prevent or reduce allergy symptoms is to wear a face mask outdoors. Face masks help reduce allergies by filter from pollen† UCLA Health recommends choosing surgical masks over cloth masks because the former can filter out smaller particles.

Discard any mask after use to avoid exposing it to pollen adhering to the surface of the mask. wear glasses outdoors can protect the eyes from pollen, but be sure to clean them when you enter to remove pollen that has accumulated on the glass.

woman wearing face mask outdoors South_agency / Getty Images

Improve indoor air quality

Even if a home’s doors and windows are kept closed as much as possible, some allergens will still get inside. If allergies often affect you or your family, consider installing a quality air conditioner filter or investing in single-room air purifiers that use HEPA filters.

Choose disposable filters and change them out regularly — permanent filters cannot be sufficiently cleared of allergens.

man repairing his air purifier at home RgStudio/Getty Images

Learn to use a Neti Pot

Neti pots are designed to flush out the sinus cavity, and experts agree they can help out relieve spring allergies

Neti pots and other nasal irrigation devices should only be used with a saline made with sterile water — either distilled or boiled and then cooled. When used correctly, neti pots can relieve congestion and flush pollen and other allergens out of the nose.

lady preparing to use neti pot at home South_agency / Getty Images

Try acupuncture

Some research suggests that acupuncture may reduce spring allergy symptoms. One small study found that 86% of participants experienced significant allergy relief after six treatment sessions.

More research is needed to determine whether acupuncture is more or less effective than antihistamines, but many organizations have supported it since the risk from damage is low

Shot of an acupuncturist treating a client PeopleImages/Getty Images
Coffee, Keyboard and music.. Best Companion for quality writing. Aditya Pratap is undergrad fellow and looking for best stuffs in Technology, Politics and Startups.