Allergy season has arrived in full force. For those suffering from allergies, it can be an overwhelming feeling of hopeless with no end in sight. When you should be outside celebrating the warm weather and beautiful nature, you are stuck inside trying to avoid anything that blooms or carries pollen.
While allergies and colds have many common symptoms, Dr. Evan Reinhardt, of MountainStar’s Jordan Family Health in West Jordan, explains colds typically include an infection that can cause fever, chills, body aches and a rundown feeling.
“Other than the mild fatigue, you should not experience these other symptoms with allergies,” Reinhardt says. “With allergies, you may notice that certain environments may worsen the symptoms such as being outside or being around certain pets. Also, it is not uncommon to have both allergies and a cold occurring. In fact, uncontrolled allergies can sometimes make symptoms feel even worse.”
Dr. Preston Wilson, also from Jordan Family Health, explains overcoming allergies requires a three-tiered approach:
Avoidance — Means minimizing exposure by thorough cleaning, using HEPA filters, keeping away from pets, replacing HVAC filters, etc.
Medications — “Allergies are caused by our body releasing chemicals to attack allergens that are actually harmless but perceived as harmful by our immune system. Medications work to block this overactive response,” Wilson says. “First line medications include nasal steroids such as Flonase and Nasacort which can be purchased over the counter. These are incredibly safe and work effectively if used daily. Second line treatment includes antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. These all have generic equivalents that can be purchased over the counter. Lastly, we often use Singulair which is a prescription medication.”
Immunotherapy — This involves creating a serum that can be used with allergy shots to slowly help the immune system become less reactive to allergens. Wilson reports this truly is the only way to heal one’s allergies, but it is expensive and time-consuming and generally involves allergy shots or drops for 3-5 years.
If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, instead of wishing for winter to return, take advantage of these tips from qualified sources to help transition into the warmer season with more allergy triggers.
1. Close windows
The easiest way for pollen to get involved in the nitty-gritty parts of your house is through your windows. Sure, open windows invite fresh air into a stuffy house. Sure, it also keeps the temperature cool, but it invites pollen to settle in hard to reach places throughout your home — in the furniture, the dusty corners where the drapes meet the floor, the carpet and cupboards.
If you want better air circulation, use a fan and pump up that air conditioning if you need to drop the temperature.
2. Spring clean
Keeping your windows closed does no good if your house is dusty and moldy. You will have allergies on both sides of your walls. Get on your knees and scrub out those already existing allergens in your home. This gives your home a fresh slate when allergy season starts emerging. You want your home to be a safe place for your nasal passages.
This shouldn't be a one-time clean especially if you have pets. You should be vacuuming and washing upholstery regularly to make sure pollen and other allergens are not lingering from you or your pet when returning from outside.
3. Try acupuncture
For some patients, acupuncture can be a valuable resource in calming the allergies. A study in Berlin focused on using minimal acupuncture on patients suffering from either strokes, osteoarthritis or allergies.
The research was "able to show that acupuncture works in patients with allergic rhinitis, especially in seasonal allergic rhinitis. And it was very interesting that acupuncture showed long-time effects of more than six months and still reduced allergy symptoms in the following year."
4. Incorporate honey in your diet
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health lists honey as a tool for relieving allergies. It does provide the disclaimer that only a few studies have looked at the relationship between honey and seasonal allergy symptoms, but it will soothe the throat the nasal passages. The theory is that honey contains pollens that can help create a tolerance for allergens. Of course, to be most effective, you need to use honey that is locally sourced.
5. Flush with a sinus rinse
Flushing out the sinuses can be a great relief when you are too stuffed up to breathe through your nose. Many flushes might cause more harm than good though. If you are flushing with unclean water or with too much force, it can do damage to your nasal passages. The U.S. Food and Drug Association explains that as long as you "rinse only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water" you should be fine. It will definitely relieve the pressure in your head and nose and return your nose to full use.
6. Know your pollen
It is impossible to avoid those things that bother you if you do not know what you are allergic to. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology advised to regularly check pollen counts like you would check the weather. This gives you some sense of control in that you are able to prepare or avoid certain areas.
7. Don't be afraid to combine allergy medications
Everyone's bodies are different. Sometimes a simple decongestant will do the trick. For others, it takes an antihistamine. Often though, you need both. These medications will not counteract each other but together they might provide the extra kick to temper your allergy symptoms.
For the best treatment to help you deal with your allergy symptoms, contact the medical experts at a MountainStar Medical Group.