Seasonal Allergies on the Rise – Tips to survive the season:
Aside from this season’s unique weather conditions, the incidence and severity of allergies seems to be increasing. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,’the prevalence of allergic rhinitis has increased substantially over the past 15 years; now 10 to 16 percent of U.S. adults are estimated to have allergies’. There are no definitive answers as to why allergy rates are increasing. One theory is that climate change has gradually been making allergy season last longer.
Coping with Allergy Misery:
Give salt water a go.
Not a fan of the way many allergy meds make you feel tired and foggy? Try a saline nasal rinse (either with a neti pot or a spray), which helps clear allergens like pollen from your nasal membranes, minimizing symptoms. Gargling with salt water can soothe a sore or scratchy throat. Do this once or twice a day throughout allergy season to ease congestion.
Kick off your shoes and work clothes as soon as you get home.
Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to cause your symptoms to act up. Remove your shoes outside the door and throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else. Shower at night to wash off any lingering pollen from your body and hair before you get into bed. Have a dog or outdoor cat? Wipe their paws and fur when they enter your home too, since pollen can cling to them.
Take your workout indoors.
Check pollen counts in the morning and try to stay indoors when they’re high. This may mean trading your daily neighborhood stroll for a treadmill at the gym or an exercise DVD in your living room. Pollen tends to be highest in the mid- to late-afternoon, so try to run errands first thing in the morning or after work instead of during your lunch break.
Get window savvy.
If you’re allergic to pollen, keep your windows closed and run an air conditioner. On the other hand, if you’re allergic to indoor allergies like mold and dust, throw the windows open and let in the fresh air, which can help clear allergens from your home.
Wear a mask for outdoor chores.
When you’re tending your garden or yard, a surgical mask can help minimize your exposure to pollen particles. Look for ones marked N95, which means they meet the standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health by filtering out 95 percent of particles.
Take allergy symptoms seriously.
You may brush off your nasal congestion or lingering headache as “just allergies,” but the truth is that allergy symptoms can take a big toll on your well-being. If you feel totally lousy, give in to your body: Rest, go to bed early, take a sick day. Overdoing it and running around when you feel awful will only make you feel worse.