Spring is full of wonderful things—birds, flowers, warm breezes—but it also brings allergies. Each year, more than 45 million Americans suffer from allergies—and many of these end up visiting urgent care centers for relief during the spring months. There are, of course, scores of allergy medicines you can take to alleviate your symptoms. But are these the only answer? Are there other ways to alleviate those itchy, watery eyes and congested sinuses?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. Check out this list of effective ways to limit and control seasonal allergy symptoms for yourself and your family.
1. Wash your bedding—and yourself
When you get home, remove shoes and the clothes you’ve worn outside and take a shower. Make sure you wash your hair too, as pollen can gather in your hair. Wash bedding every second week in hot water to ensure that there is no pollen there. And, don’t hang your laundry outside; pollen can stick to your clothing, towels and sheets.
2. Clean all surfaces in your house
If you have rugs or carpet, vacuum twice a week. Also, reduce the number of throw rugs in your home; dust and mold can accumulate there. Try to buy washable rugs to make cleaning them easier. It’s advisable to wear a mask and gloves when cleaning to limit your exposure to allergens.
3. Keep the air in your home clean
To prevent pollen from coming into your house, keep your windows closed and turn on the air conditioning. Make sure you change the filters in your air conditioning units and vents often. Use high-efficiency filters such as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters; these are especially useful in your bedroom. You can also get a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Please note that indoor allergens like dust and mold can also be a concern. To limit these allergens, open your windows regularly or use a ventilator to exchange and purify the air in your home.
4. Take allergy medicine
Allergy drugs work. Unfortunately, it may take time to find the right one for you. For sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose, ask your urgent care center about antihistamines like Zyrtec, Benadryl, or Claritin. For stuffy noses, Sudafed or Actifed can be helpful. For stuffiness and sneezing, you could try a nasal corticosteroid spray such as Flonase or Nasonex. For itchy and watery eyes, your options include Lastacaft, Zaditor, and Visine-A, among others. It’s important to consult your medical care provider to make sure you’re using the saddest and most affective medications for you.
5. Consider an allergy shot
If medicine fails to work for you, you may want to think about an allergy shot. You’ll receive a series of injections over the course of months or even years. The shots contain a very small amount of pollen and your body builds up a resistance that prevents pollen from wreaking havoc.
6. Try a home remedy
There are several home remedies for seasonal allergies that are quite effective. One of the best at-home treatments is “nasal irrigation,” or rinsing out your nose with salty water. You can buy a saline mix or make one yourself and put it in a squeeze bottle or a Neti Pot, which is a small container with a spout designed for this purpose. Then, flush out the allergens. It’s usually recommended that you start this treatment two months before the beginning of allergy season—but again, confirming the usefulness of these treatments with a medical professional is a smart move.
Enjoy springtime with a clear head!
Spring allergies can be awful, but there are ways to avoid and minimize them. Start by making efforts to keep your home allergen-free, and consulting your doctor or registered nurse about medication options. If multiple measures fail to alleviate symptoms, look into allergy shots, which are available at many urgent care centers.