I consider it one of my major blessings in life that I am not one of those who suffer from the misery of seasonal allergies! But, unfortunately, my husband, my daughter Britta and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn DO! Bless their hearts! Since it’s beginning to be “that time of year” where we live, dealing with seasonal allergy symptoms has been a hot topic of conversation between them lately. We figured they probably weren’t alone in their suffering, so we decided a blog post was in order.
Kaitlyn decided to tackle the subject because, much to her chagrin, she’s much more of an “expert” on it than I am.
Kaitlyn writes: I didn’t start getting seasonal allergies until I was a junior in high school. Somehow I avoided the horrible itchy eyes, and sinus headaches until then. But they hit me like a ton of bricks when I was around 17. My dad has always suffered from hay fever and my two sisters have some pretty severe allergies, so I’m counting my blessings that mine aren’t worse.
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I grew up in southern California and then moved to Utah to go to college. Utah’s super dry weather definitely helped my allergies. I spent a year and half as a missionary for my church in South Carolina and boy, my allergies have never been worse than they were then! For those of you with allergies who have never lived in the south – consider yourself lucky. All of the greenery that makes the south so beautiful also covers everything in a thin layer of pollen during the spring.
I’ve been back in Utah for a few years now, but I still have my fair share of sneezing and watery eyes when the seasons change. So I was excited when I recently came across articles in Health Magazine and All You Magazine about combating allergies. I did a little additional online research and wanted to share some of the best tips I found.
ALLERGY DO’S & DON’TS:
DO start taking your antihistamines early in the season before symptoms start, and take them right before you go to bed to avoid drowsiness during the day.
DO switch up your allergy medications. You can become insensitive to medication after taking it for 4-6 weeks. You’ll want to switch to a different medication for around 2 weeks and then go back to your regular brand.
DON’T open the windows of your house and car during peak pollen times.
DO try combining lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oils if you’re looking for a natural alternative to over the counter or prescription allergy medications. The three combined create an all-natural antihistamine. And a major bonus – you can’t develop an immunity to essential oils! Essential oils have up to 500 chemical constituents, whereas synthetic medications have less than 10, making it easy for microbes to mutate and outsmart medicine.
DO download a pollen counter or allergy app for your phone or tablet. There are quite a few apps that will tell you the pollen count for the day. Search “pollen” or “allergy app” in your device’s app store to find one you like. I’m thinking of trying out the pollen.com or WebMD apps.
DO check the “Pollencast” on The Weather Channel. Just search the weather report for your town and then click on the “Pollen” link on the left hand side of the page. While you’re there, check out THIS ALLERGY QUIZ to get a little more info on allergy causes and types.
DON’T stress. Stress causes your cytokine (the protein we produce as part of the allergic response) levels to raise thus increasing allergy symptoms.
DO workout in the afternoons when pollen levels are lowest, or stick to an indoor gym.
DO put on your sunglasses when you go outside to keep pollen from blowing in your eyes.
DO change your air filter before each new season to remove pollen, dust and mold. You might also want to consider installing a HEPA filter in your AC unit.
DO take off your shoes and change your clothes when you get home in the evenings to avoid tracking pollen throughout your house.
DO take a shower before you go to bed to rinse pollen off your hair and body.
DO add Greek yogurt to your diet or take a probiotic that contains lactobacillus casei.
DON’T forget to turn on the bathroom fan while you shower to prevent mold, which is a major allergen. If you do get mold in your bathroom you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible.
DO eat foods that contain the omega-3 fatty acid, EPA. Cold water fatty fish and shellfish are great sources of this fatty acid that has been shown to reduce inflammation that contributes to allergy symptoms.
DON’T let your pets (especially long-haired ones) sleep in your bed as they can carry pollen in their fur.
DO give local honey a try. Take a teaspoon a day of honey or ½ a teaspoon of bee pollen. Some say consuming honey daily before allergy season can help your body grow accustomed to the pollen and immunize your body against it.
DON’T park your car under a tree.
DO keep your house dry, wash your bedding more often, vacuum and dust regularly.
DO consider getting tested for allergies. Ask your doctor for ImmunoCap blood testing and/or skin testing.
DO use a neti pot to clear your sinus passages.
DO eat onions. They contain quercetin, which has been proven to help with allergy symptoms.
DO take 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily. It prevents the formation of histamine – which contributes tearing, excess mucus and runny noses.
DO try 50-75 milligrams of butterbur extract twice a day. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as an over-the-counter antihistamine.
What are your do’s and don’ts for surviving allergy season?