When you have allergy symptoms–runny nose, congestion, cough, post-nasal drainage, sinus pressure, sneezing, itchy eyes and sore throat, life becomes a torture. You can’t function during the day as you are zapped of energy because at night, you can’t sleep as the bothersome symptoms of allergies drive you insane. Many of us don’t have a choice of where we live and therefore, have to deal with the reality of pollen, grasses and air pollution that trigger or worsen allergies. However, we can do something preemptively to make allergy symptoms subside or not even appear in the first place.
Before allergy season (April, May are the worst months), follow these well-bits to stay allergy symptoms free:
1. Wash your linens in hot water at least once a week (preferably twice, especially in high pollen times). It is a natural way to decrease the allergen concentration around you.
2. Make your bed every day. Cover your pillows–which protects your clean linens from allergens. This is another simple and natural way to keep allergies at bay.
3. Take a shower before going to sleep. This way you wash away many particles that covered your skin and hair as you went about your daily activities.
4. Rinse your nasal passages by tilting your head back and letting the water from the shower run through your nose to the back of your throat. Also, gargle your throat after the nasal rinse. Both of these measures remove environmental allergens and irritants from your airways.
5. Use neti pot. Some advocate using the neti pot, but rinsing your nose by tilting your head back in the shower is easier and safer. Neti pot use has been associated with causing bacterial sinusitis of highly resistant strains.
6. Take supplements: vitamin C (1000mg daily), Quercitin (900mg daily) and Colostrum (2000mg daily) before and during the allergy season. If you take the above supplements–vitamin C, Quercitin and Colostrum, you may be able to make it without over-the-counter antihistamines.
7. Take over the counter allergy medication. If dietary supplements fail, start taking either Claritin (loratadine) 10mg or Zyrtec (cetirizine) 10mg.
8. Use nasal saline 2-4 drops (in addition to shower nasal rinses) in each nostrils to wash out and decrease the concentration of allergen particles in the nasal passages.
9. If nasal saline fails, use steroid nasal sprays like Flonase, Nasacort or Nasonex, which can be used alone or in conjunction with oral antihistamines such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Steroid nasal sprays work by decreasing inflammation and swelling–making it easier to breath. REMEMBER: direct the spraying away from the nasal septum (middle of the inside of your nose) to decrease irritation from steroid sprays.
10. Drink at least 1,5 to 2 liters of water each day, exercise and manage stress–all of these help to negate hyperactive response of your immune system to the environment.
11. Keep your house clean–dust, vacuum and mop every 3 days.
12. During high pollen days keep windows closed. Some phone weather apps would give you pollen count levels.
13. If your eyes get itchy and red despite taking oral supplements (or medication) and nasal spray therapy, add eye drops. My favorites are Patanol and Zaditor. Put 1 drop in each eye two times a day.
14. Use nasal decongestant drops containing pseudoephedrine only for a short time because you will get rebound congestion within 3-4 days of persistent use, and nothing will help you to breath until the effects of using these products wear off.
I start taking vitamin C, Quercitin and Colostrum supplements as soon as, or before, allergy symptoms hit. I also find keeping the house mopped and windows closed, as well as nightly showers, greatly help for being allergy symptom free. I hope you can too.