Tips for Coping with Summer Allergies
As spring comes to a close, you may be planning beach days, camping trips, and cookouts. Summer has a way of getting us outside. And though fresh air and warm sun are good for the soul, they can be terrible for summertime allergy victims. You might think that summer ushers in at the end of seasonal allergies, but these sultry months actually bring their own set of troublesome allergens. Summer livin’ can quickly become summer suffering. But don’t worry — you can conquer your seasonal allergy woes with these simple tips:
Identify Your Triggers
Summertime allergy triggers can often be different from spring allergies. Eating fresh, in-season fruits can sometimes produce “food pollen syndrome” which will look a lot like typical seasonal allergy symptoms. Additionally, grass pollen reaches high levels during the summer months, followed by ragweed pollen which begins at the end of July. Summer can also bring higher humidity levels, creating the perfect environment for mold spores and dust mites.
Another irritating allergy trigger that emerges in hot weather is insects. Mosquito bites and bee stings can produce particularly troubling allergic reactions, from painful, itchy welts, swelling, or even life-threatening anaphylaxis. Always visit a medical professional if you experience any insect-related allergies. If you don’t know what you’re allergic to, schedule an appointment with an allergist to have an allergy test done. Once you identify your triggers, you can make plans to avoid them.
Use an Antihistamine
Antihistamines aren’t just for springtime allergies. Since they block your body’s response to allergens, they can be used for almost any type of allergy. OTC oral antihistamines are ideal for sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, and itchiness while prescription intranasal antihistamines can target congestion. However, if you’re plagued by itchy, watery eyes, you may want to give allergy eye drops a try.
Buy a Nasal Spray
A nasal spray may be the best option for targeting congestion and sinus drip. intranasal corticosteroids, such as fluticasone, are some of the most effective OTC treatments for allergic rhinitis. They can take a couple of days or weeks to work, but you can use them long-term with little to no side effects. If you need short-term relief, try a nasal decongestant spray, such as oxymetazoline. A decongestant spray is a powerful congestion fighter that can work for up to 12 hours. However, using it for more than a few days can cause a rebound effect, resulting in worse or prolonged congestion.
Make Saline Part of Your Routine
Saline is a cheap and safe way to manage summer allergies. Many find relief by regularly irrigating their sinuses with saline sprays or neti pots. As salinated water travels through your nasal passages, it pushes allergens out, clears away mucus, and keeps your sinuses moisturized. If you suffer from dry, irritated eyes, you can opt for pH-balanced saline eye drops. These whisk away allergens while also gently hydrating your eyes.
Keep Your Environment Clean
Pollen, dust, dander, and mold spores all have a pesky habit of clinging to fabric and air particles. And even if you’re good about keeping your windows closed, they can still hitch a ride on your clothing. Make sure to regularly clean your shoes, clothes, and bedding. If possible, remove carpet and drapes from your home or vacuum them daily. You can also help minimize allergen exposure by using filters. Replace your HVAC filters monthly using HEPA filters and use an external air purifier to “scrub” the air.
Use Insect Repellent
If your insect allergies are severe, consider setting insect traps and spraying your yard with an insect repellent. If you’re out and about, wear long sleeves and pants and use bug spray. Citronella candles may provide additional protection. If you do experience a bite or sting, you can purchase devices that extract the irritating venom from your skin. Topical antihistamines and hydrocortisone can treat itching and minor allergic reactions.
It could be time to give immunotherapy a “shot.” Immunotherapy (aka allergy shots) works by exposing you to your allergy trigger in small doses over time until your immune system learns to fight it on its own. An allergy doctor will need to administer these injections regularly until you see full results. For those with needle phobias, mouth drops are available, as well.
Breathe Clear Institute Will Help You Cope with Summer Allergies
Summer should be a time for making memories. If allergies are keeping you from enjoying life, it’s time to get help from the allergists at Breathe Clear Institute. Our medical professionals will treat you with a holistic approach, determined to get to the bottom of your allergy symptoms and present the right treatment plan. Our clinic is equipped with tools for allergy testing, immunotherapy, and other ENT services. Schedule your appointment today and start experiencing the joys of summer once again.