Coping With Allergies

Allergies are attacking this year! The five worst cities for allergies this spring are Knoxville, Tenn; Louisville, Ky; Charlotte, N.C.; Jackson, Miss., and Chattanooga, Tenn., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. This foundation uses an algorithm that includes airborne pollen and mold counts, and the number of allergy medications taken and allergy specialists available in each city. 10 to 16 % of U.S. adults are estimated to have allergies, which cost the healthcare system $18 billion annually.

Coping With Allergies1

What can you do if allergies are hitting you harder than ever? Best ways to survive the season:

Determine if it’s really allergies. The sudden swing from cool to warm weather can make it hard to tell an allergic reaction from a cold or virus, particularly if you don’t usually get seasonal allergies. You should suspect allergies if your congestion lasts for more than two weeks; if your eyes, nose, and the top of your mouth itch; if your mucus is thin and clear; or if your symptoms seem to get worse after you’re exposed to triggers, such as spending a day at the park or running outside. The absence of fever and aches is another clue it’s probably allergies and not a cold or other virus.

Head to your drugstore for symptom relief. Over-the-counter decongestants will help relieve a stuffy nose; antihistamines can tackle sniffles and itching. If you take the indicated dosage and it doesn’t work, it may be that your individual metabolism is a mismatch for that particular medication.

Try salt water. Try a saline nasal which helps clear allergens like pollen from your nasal membranes, minimizing symptoms. Gargling with salt water can soothe a sore or scratchy throat. Do this once or twice a day throughout allergy season to ease congestion.

Kick off your shoes and work clothes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to cause your symptoms to act up. Remove your shoes outside the door and throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else. Shower at night to wash off any lingering pollen from your body and hair before you get into bed.

Take your workout indoors. Check pollen counts in the morning and try to stay indoors when they’re high. This may mean trading your daily neighborhood stroll for a treadmill at the gym or an exercise DVD in your living room.

Wear a mask for outdoor tasks. When you’re tending your garden or yard, a surgical mask can help minimize your exposure to pollen particles. They can filter out 95 % of particles.

Get window savvy. If you’re allergic to pollen, keep your windows closed and run an air conditioner. On the other hand, if you’re allergic to indoor allergies like mold and dust, throw the windows open and let in the fresh air, which can help clear allergens from your home.

Take allergy symptoms seriously. You may brush off your nasal congestion or lingering headache as “just allergies,” but the truth is that allergy symptoms can take a big toll on your well-being. If you feel totally lousy, give in to your body: Rest, go to bed early, take a sick day. Overdoing it and running around when you feel awful will only make you feel worse.

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