Allergic rhinitis can cause annoying and uncomfortable symptoms like sneezing, congestion, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. These symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction to allergens indoors or outdoors, like pollen, mould, dust mites, or pet dander. Allergies can make you feel miserable, damage your work performance, and impact on your overall quality of life. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to avoid your allergy triggers and feel better. Here are some of the best ways to manage your allergies.
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Know Your Triggers
Avoid your allergy triggers is the best way to manage your allergy symptoms. You can book an appointment with an allergist, who will perform a skin test to find out what you’re allergic to. When you know what it is that is triggering your symptoms, you can take action to limit your exposure to that allergen. Here are some easy tips to avoid some of the most common allergens.
- Limit outdoor activity and keep your windows closed on days when the pollen count is high.
- Use a dehumidifier and repair any leaks in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement to prevent mould from growing.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom.
- Use allergen-proof bed and pillow covers and wash your bedding on a regular basis to keep dust mites at bay. This can help if you have asthma too (learn more about asthma here).
Stay Inside When You Need To
If pollen is one of your allergy triggers, then you should check the weather forecast and the pollen count in your area before making plans to go outside. Pollen counts are usually higher on hot, dry, windy days and lower on cool, damp, rainy, windless days. Pollen levels are highest in the morning during ragweed pollen season in the late summer and early fall. During the spring and summer, or grass pollen season, pollen levels are highest in the evening.
Try to limit your exposure to pollen when the levels are high. It might be best to stay inside with your windows and doors closed, and the air condition turned on until the levels come down again. If you use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, this can also help to reduce airborne allergens indoors. If you do need to head outside, take your allergy medications as prescribed. Wear sunglasses and a hat to keep some of the pollen out of your hair and your eyes. When you come back indoors, shower and change your clothes, so you don’t track pollen through the house.
Practice Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can help to reduce the effects of your allergy symptoms. Managing your levels of stress is important too, as stress can worsen your existing symptoms, and increase how often you experience allergy flare-ups. To relieve some stress, you can try these tips:
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Don’t overbook your schedule
- Ask friends or family members for help
- Make time to rest and do activities you enjoy
Take Your Medication
Taking your medication can play an important part in managing your allergies. There are lots of over-the-counter and prescription medications available to treat allergy symptoms. These medications might help:
- Antihistimatins blocks the effects of histamine, the chemical which is released by your body when you have an allergic reaction to something. They can help to relieve sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes.
- Decongestants help to shrink swollen blood vessels to relieve a stuffy nose.
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays can help to prevent and treat nasal inflammation and an itchy or runny nose.
Allergy shots are also a potential option for treatment that can provide some long-term relief from your allergy symptoms.
A lot of allergy sufferers benefit from a combination of different medications. You can work with your doctor or an allergist to find the medications and medication schedule that works the best for you.
Try Home Remedies
As well as your medication, there are some home remedies to help you soothe your symptoms. You could try a neti pot or saline spray to rinse your nasal passages with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled and cooled saline. This can flush mucus and allergens out of your nose, relieving nasal congestion.
You could also try home remedies like drinking plenty of fluids to thin your mucus, breathing in steam to relieve sinus congestion, and applying a cold compress to soothe itchy eyes.