5 Tips for Surviving Allergy Season

Photography by Jialu Xu

It’s that time of the year when you can stop taking your coats to work, and start enjoying the great outdoors. But the outdoors might not feel so great if you’re one of 30% of adults affected by seasonal allergies. Many people have always had allergies, and have methods for dealing with them, but others don’t develop allergies till they’re in their twenties, thirties, or even later. If you’ve developed seasonal allergies in your adulthood and haven’t yet figured out how to deal with them, here are a few tips on how to survive allergy season.

  1. Medication. Annoying symptoms like runny, stuffy nose, and itchy, watery eyes can be treated with over the counter medicines like Claritin and Benadryl. Be careful with Benadryl — it can make you drowsy. If you need relief while you’re at work, go for Claritin so you can stay alert.
  2. Nasal rinse. Seasonal allergy symtoms usually occur when dust and pollen from their environment finds its way into your sinuses, where it hangs out, causing your body to react. Nasal rinse products like neti pots and Nasopure can help to flush out that dust and pollen, getting rid of any irritants that might have hitched a ride while you were outside. Let’s be honest. It looks weird! And if you haven’t tried it before, maybe you’re afraid of it a little. But really, it’s worth a try. Worst case scenario, you don’t like doing it, and you never do it again. Make sure to use warm purified or distilled water. Where I live, the faucet water really burns my nose.
  3. In desperate times, keep your windows and doors closed. Given the chance, all of the dust and pollen causing your allergies will find a way into your home. If possible, stay cool with air conditioning instead. At least until the worst of allergy season is over.
  4. Pollen forecasts. There are websites that show how much pollen is expected in your zip code each day. My favorite is Pollen.com. If there’s a lot of pollen on the radar, and you have the opportunity to stay in for the day, spare yourself the sinus trouble.
  5. Be proactive! If you know you’re going to experience allergy symptoms, take steps to deal with them before they happen. If you decide to wait things out, or even ignore your symptoms, you could be setting yourself up to catch a case of sinusitis, more commonly known as a sinus infection. As bad as allergy symptoms are, sinus infections are much, much worse. We’re talking about fevers, body aches, nasty coughs, stuffy nose and ears… And in a worst case scenario, a sinus infection can spread throughout your body, like any other infection, and cause many more serious problems for you. You don’t want to deal with a sinus infection if you don’t have to. So stay on top of your symptoms!

Good luck!

Photography by Jialu Xu