Spring is a time for new beginnings, but for many allergy sufferers, it can be a time of misery. The constant sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose can make it difficult to enjoy the beauty of the season. However, there's hope! According to Dr. Timothy Craig, director of allergy, immunology and respiratory clinical research at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, there are several simple steps you can take to reduce your allergy symptoms.
Causes of Seasonal Allergies: Firstly, it's important to understand the factors that contribute to allergies. Craig suggests that a combination of genetic predisposition and modern living, including exposure to pollutants and second-hand smoke, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet high in processed foods and antibiotics, can increase the risk of developing allergies. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk and alleviate symptoms.
How to Protect Yourself?: One of the simplest steps you can take is to shower at the end of the day. This can help remove pollen from your hair and body and reduce your exposure to allergens. You should also wash clothes that were worn outside before wearing them again. Rinsing your nose with saline before bed can also help remove debris and reduce inflammation.
Medications For Seasonal Allergies: Over-the-counter topical nasal steroids are another effective way to reduce symptoms, but they should be used regularly for best results. Low-sedating antihistamines can also help, although they are not as effective as nasal steroids. Antihistamine eye drops are also available and can help alleviate eye-related symptoms.
For those with more severe allergies, desensitization may be an option. Shots or tablets can gradually expose you to small amounts of allergens, helping your body develop a tolerance over time.
Exercise is Helpful: In addition to these steps, a healthy diet and exercise regimen can also help reduce your allergy symptoms. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce stress, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
Finally, it's important to be mindful of your exposure to allergens. Try to avoid outdoor activity during the late afternoon when pollen counts are highest. Keep windows and doors closed during peak pollen season and use air conditioning to filter out allergens.
By taking these simple steps, you can reduce your exposure to allergens and alleviate your symptoms, making it easier to enjoy the beauty of spring without the sniffles. So, take care of yourself and take control of your allergies!