Whether spring has sprung in your part of the country or not, chances are good allergy season is right around the corner. For a lot of us, this means trying to find ways to cope without taking so many meds that we find ourselves walking around like zombies.
In addition to just being miserable, seasonal allergies can also trigger asthma attacks, turning an inconvenience into a larger issue. In any event, below are some of the steps we’ve taken over the years to minimize seasonal allergic triggers.
Make personal hygiene a daily deal. While a no-brainer for most of the adults I know, hygiene helps! Washing the pollen off when you get home or before you slide between the sheets can help you breathe easier – and sleep easier.
Never wear clothes twice. Even though the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. has famously stated that we shouldn’t wash our jeans, allergists almost everywhere might disagree. During your high pollen season, wash your clothes after each wearing to keep from tracking the allergens throughout your house.
Clean out your sinuses. Keep your sinuses clean and clear by using a nasal rinse like this one to keep pollen from camping out in your sinuses. This is one of my favorite tips, and while it isn’t incredibly comfortable to do, it provides great relief (not to mention great entertainment to the kids watching the procedure).
Purify the air. We do this in our house two ways: we have a filter on our HVAC system, and we have a room air purifier in Zachary’s bedroom. On days that I want to air out the house (because who doesn’t want to do this after a Chicago winter?) and the pollen count is higher, I’ll crack the windows everywhere in the house except his room and then close his door. If the pollen count is really high, we leave all doors and windows closed.
Keep pets clean. We’ve fallen into the habit of wiping our dog’s paws off after each walk, and we also wash him more frequently during our peak allergy seasons. He’s not as much of a fan as we are, but I do like how fluffy and soft he is after his bath, so he gets more snuggles with his humans. And he is definitely a fan of that.
Ditch the carpet. “Have you gotten rid of your carpet yet?” My allergist asks me this every check-up. To which I respond, “Have you figured out how to get insurance to cover that?” Carpet is a reality for many of our households, so keeping it as clean as possible with vacuuming and shampooing during allergy season may be the best we can do. On the off chance if you’re lucky enough to have a tax refund burning a hole in your pocket, investing in new, non-carpeted floors may be a smart choice for you.
Invest in the right meds. Talk to your doctor about what medications might be best for you. I was surprised to have a doctor tell me one time that a particular medication was considered better than others for the pollen that was out at that time. I can’t confirm this, but I do know that the right people with real medical degrees could tell you. Remember that many medications require a build-up of dosing over time, so if you know your allergy season is around the corner, talk to your doctor soon about finding the right med for you or your kiddo.
Consider allergy shots. I’ve shared before that allergy shots have been a game-changer in for my son. Because of them, we whittled daily medications from three (Singulair, Claritin, and Qvar) down to one (Qvar). The benefits of allergy shots have far outweighed the burdens of the protocol by far.
Allergy season doesn’t have to be a zombie season for any of us. Taking appropriate measures can make it survivable for us all. What else would you add to our list of living with seasonal allergies? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!