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Survival Tips for Seasonal Allergies

by Melissa Monaghan R.N., A.P.H., Allergy Technician at Gerber Medical Clinic |

Summer is in the air and many of us are enjoying outdoor activities in the sun, savoring the last month of our summer vacation. The fall allergy season is quickly approaching, and what better time to prepare ourselves for seasonal allergies than now!

For anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, the month of August brings runny noses, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, breathing problems, and susceptibility to secondary illnesses. This is due to the rapidly rising weed pollens and outdoor mold spore counts.

The mold counts rise as plants and vegetation start to die off for the upcoming winter months. Weed pollen counts rise this time of year due to the beginning of Ragweed season, the number one cause of fall allergies across the United States. Other well-known weeds prevalent in this area: Sagebrush, Russian Thistle (Tumble-Weed) and Rabbitbrush, with its yellow blossoms, take us into late October. This is when we usually get our first winter freeze, marking the end of pollen allergy season.

SURVIVAL TIPS TO ALLEVIATE YOUR ALLERGY SUFFERING

1. Keep or start taking your allergy medications. Take your medicine every day and don’t skip days because you start to feel better. Antihistamines tend to work best when taken regularly. They can take several days to reach full effectiveness. If you are taking herbal or homeopathic remedies for allergies, the same applies, sometimes with a more immediate effect.

2. Treat the cause of the allergies. Find out what you are allergic to and start treating for relief. Find someone who administers a “non-painful” allergy testing technique, which will identify specific allergens. There are customized desensitization treatments by injections or oral drops. For children or adults who do not like shots, the oral drops are a great option. The traditional methods of skin or blood testing for allergies are also available.

3.  Keep windows and doors closed at home. It prevents tiny pollens and molds from drifting into your home and causing allergies. Run your central air conditioner or air purifier, which will reduce indoor allergens.

4. Keep car windows closed. When driving around town, keep your windows up and adjust your air vents to “re-circulate” so pollen does not come inside.

5. Minimize early morning activity. Pollen counts are highest in the early morning hours from 5 A.M. to 10 P.M. Check the internet for the pollen count.

6. Wear dust masks and sunglasses if yard work cannot be avoided. Also, remove your clothes and shower afterwards because pollen sticks to your hair and clothing. This includes pet hair, after they have been outside.

7. Wash out your nose. Use nasal saline or sinus rinses to clean your nasal passages, two to three times per day. This helps decrease sinus drainage and congestion.

8. Avoid Dairy products. They are known to produce a lot of unwanted phlegm and congestion.

9. Drink plenty of cool lemon water. It hydrates, detoxifies and raises the body’s PH to prevent you from allergic reactions. Low PH, or high acidity, causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body causes allergies.

10. Avoid foods that cause an itchy throat or mouth when eaten during high pollen season. You may be suffering from “Oral Allergy Syndrome.” It is related to hayfever. If you are allergic to Ragweed pollen you should avoid: bananas, melons, cucumbers, sunflower seeds or even drinking tea made from Chamomile or Echinacea. The proteins found in these foods are similar to Ragweed pollen proteins and give you an allergic “cross reaction” during the fall weed season.

With the autumn-allergy season on the horizon, take action now so that you do not let those pesky fall weeds ruin your outdoor fun!

References:

  1. HealthCentral.com
  2. “Allergy Free” Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide. By Konrad Kail ND
  3. American Academy of Environmental Medicine

FOR MORE INFO: Contact: Melissa P. Monaghan RN, APH of Gerber Medical Clinic at (775) 826-1900 or by email at renonurse@yahoo.com .