After months of cold, we welcome the end of winter and the blooming colors of spring. As much as most of us enjoy springtime, we are not so thrilled with the spring allergies that follow. Spring allergies are common and there is no cure. However, specific prevention strategies can help ease discomfort and control the symptoms. Allergy-prone people need to understand what causes their allergies, what supplements could be taken instead of, or in addition to, medications, and how controlling their surrounding environment can reduce their symptoms.
During this spring of 2020, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many spring allergy sufferers worry that their symptoms, which may be similar to COVID-19, are signals of a more deadly disease. I have written about the difference between Seasonal Allergy Symptoms vs. Covid-19 Symptoms as well as a short video on Facebook. This article, however, is about how to manage your spring allergies and bring relief to your allergy symptoms.
Getting a breather from spring allergies is what we aim for. In this article, we will explore how you can manage your spring allergies even while you shelter-in-place. However, before you start treating yourself, it is vital to establish a fair understanding of what causes your allergies. The most significant factor that triggers spring allergy is pollen. During springtime, trees, flowers, grass, and weeds release tiny particles into the environment. And these particles, when inhaled, tend to upset the body’s defenses. The immune system then releases antibodies to attack the allergens. Suddenly you end up with red itchy eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing, congestion, and other familiar symptoms.
Key strategies to help you prevent spring allergies
1. Limit your time outdoors
Allergists world-wide will you that the only sure way to manage your exposure to pollen is to stay indoors when the pollen count has increased beyond normal levels. That isn’t too difficult during the COVID-19 quarantine. However, as some people start feeling antsy stuck in their homes, many venture out at the time of day when pollen is most prevalent. Pollen is usually at its peak from 5 am until 10 am and then again at dusk. When you breathe pollen particles, they travel into your nose and lungs and eyes, triggering an uncomfortable allergic reaction. Staying inside, especially on windy days and during early morning or early evening hours, will help reduce allergic triggers.
Of course, staying in your house is not always possible nor reasonable throughout the entire spring even during normal conditions. When heading out, wearing sunglasses helps keep your eyes safe from pollen and protects you from the photosensitivity that often accompanies spring allergies. If your allergies are severe, when you get back home, remember to shower and change clothes immediately to prevent pollen from contaminating your house. Also, wash off the pollen and dust that may have collected on those glasses. When mowing the lawn, make use of a facemask or something to block the swirling pollen, dust, and grass particulates from entering your nose.
2. Over the counter medications
Most Americans automatically turn to over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications in the hope that they will find relief. However, if you are not under the supervision of a holistic physician, then only use these medications for a short period of time even if they help to temporarily control your symptoms.
- Nasal Sprays – if your nasal tissues are swollen, these sprays may temporarily soothe the swelling while allowing you to breathe better.
- Antihistamines – these medications may provide some relief to your itchy, watery eyes and runny nose.
- Decongestants – decongestants may help clear the congestion of mucus from the nasal passageways.
- Eye Drops – for itchy, watery, and red eyes use saline eye drops as they are the safest on the market.
All those medications have some side effects. The most common side effect of nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants is a condition called medicamentosis or chemical rhinitis. Those are fancy words for the rebound effect that can accompany nasal and sinus drugs. When you overuse any sinus medication including the common OTC medications mentioned above, they can cause persistent nasal and sinus symptoms when you try to stop taking them. In other words, your body can react as if it were addicted to those drugs. If you experience this, contact a holistic allergist for safer, effective, and longer-lasting relief.
3. Nutrients for your nose
Most people are not aware that there are foods and supplements available to help you cope with spring allergies, so you don’t have to resort to prescription drugs and OTC medications.
- Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine. Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY found that taking vitamin C daily, significantly reduced blood histamine levels. Richard Podell, author of When Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Best: Errors That Even the Best Doctors Make and How to Protect Yourself, recommends 1000 milligrams of vitamin C (Ester-C) twice daily to help with allergies and asthma.
- Vitamin A, selenium, zinc, and vitamin E all help protect your mucus membranes from the damaging effects of air pollution and pollen.
- You may also take 250 milligrams of quercetin three times a day while your symptoms persist. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement used extensively around the world to fight allergies.
- There are also foods that help alleviate allergy symptoms. For more information on those foods see our blogpost Foods That Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergies and Boost Your Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- And there are also foods that can make allergies worse. For more information on these foods. see our blog post Common Foods That Can Trigger Severe Food Allergies
4. Give your home a big cleaning and declutter your living space
Keeping your house clean is a good practice during springtime to reduce seasonal allergies. Simple changes will help you deal with your allergy symptoms.
- Make sure that you close all your windows to keep out pollen.
- It is also recommended that you make use of an air conditioner, rather than a window fan, to cool your house because fan air attracts pollen.
- Take off your shoes before entering the house, as this will prevent allergens from being tracked inside.
- You should also change your vacuum routine to twice a week so that dust and pollen particles are pulled off from the carpet and other furniture items. It is recommended that you use vacuums with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). These filters are highly effective in trapping microscopic air particles, however, you should still cover your mouth and nose with a facemask during vacuuming.
- Clean out air conditioner filters often.
- Dust out the bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen particles are prone to settle.
- Avoid hanging clothes outside as they are likely to collect pollen.
- Clutter collects dust as well as the pollen that enters your house whenever a door is open.
5. Extra prevention steps to follow
There are some more precautions and practices that you can follow to help control seasonal allergy symptoms to a manageable level:
- Avoid smoking and being around others who smoke. Smoking worsens allergy symptoms to a serious extent.
- If you suffer severe allergies, try to shower before bedtime as your body and hair may have collected a significant amount to pollen throughout the day. Therefore, it is better to bathe and change clothes so that you do not end up carrying pollen to bed only to wake up sneezing.
- Keep yourself updated on the pollen count in your region. You can check your local pollen count through almost any weather app. Staying updated with daily pollen counts and mold types will help you remember to take the necessary precautions.
- Increase your water intake if you are experiencing congestion. This will help thin out mucus, thus helping you breathe easier.
- Try to keep your face away from pets as pollen easily clings on to animal fur. So, in addition to giving yourself a bath, give your doggie one too.
- When driving, make sure that you keep your windows up. You might find the cool breezy air refreshing, but during peak season, this breeze is loaded with allergens. Therefore, keep the vehicle windows shut for your own good. It is also recommended that you shut the vents and use the air conditioner to recirculate air inside the vehicle. This will help keep some pollen out and your car’s cabin filter will add an additional filtering safeguard.
6. See a holistic allergist who specializes in Advanced Allergy Therapeutics.
Holistic allergists do not prescribe medications or steroids. They use non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical methods. Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT), is a proven holistic therapy that does not include shots, drugs, supplements, or avoidance. It is painless, safe, effective, and gentle enough for infants and seniors.
Spring allergies are discomforting and sometimes downright debilitating when you are miserable with runny noses, itchy eyes, constant sneezes, and sinus congestion. Of course, no one can completely avoid spring allergens. But you can find relief if you are vigilant. The sooner you start adopting necessary prevention strategies, the sooner you will be able to reduce your symptoms. So, take the right precautions and follow the proper treatment from a holistic allergist if you wish to enjoy your spring outdoors instead of cooped up inside.
If you suffer from allergies, and you have been unsuccessful with other allergy treatments or are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We are an allergy wellness center specializing in natural treatments. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit our website at https://stlouisallergyrelief.com/ to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.
We also deliver community workshops as well as a free monthly informational workshop on the first Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm in our Chesterfield office. Our free monthly workshop provides the public with information on our unique approach to allergy treatments and includes an opportunity to meet with our patients for a question and answer session. If you are interested in attending one of our free monthly workshops, please call our office at 314-384-9304 to reserve your space. These workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19 and will resume when it is safe to do so.
Podell, Richard, When Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Best: Errors That Even the Best Doctors Make and How to Protect Yourself