How to Get Your Allergies Under Control
More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies. Seasonal allergies can cause sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. Pollen, mold, and pet dander are all things that can make you feel awful during the spring. Whether you have food, seasonal, or medical related allergies, there are steps that you can take to get your allergies under control.
What Triggers Allergies?
Before you can treat your allergies, you must learn what is causing them to occur. If you cannot figure out what you are allergic to, you can visit your doctor for a skin test. The doctor may place some of the suspected allergen under your skin so that he or she can monitor how your body reacts.
Some of the most common allergens that bother people include the following:
- Dust mites
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Animal dander
Sometimes, medicine triggers allergies. If you are allergic to penicillin or aspirin, you may experience hives, itchy skin and nausea after taking the medication. Your symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you suspect that you are allergic to medication, make sure to discuss the concerns with your doctor.
How to Deal with the Symptoms
You may be allergic to multiple things. Make sure to keep notes on all your symptoms so that you can share the information with your doctor. Keep track of when the symptoms started and how long they lasted. Your doctor can use this information to help pinpoint what allergens are affecting your health. Once you know what is triggering your allergies, you can start dealing with the symptoms.
- Control Pet Dander
If you have a pet, you may sneeze a lot and develop a runny nose. Dogs, cats, and other animals release dander everywhere they go. This dander can get in your eyes, nose, and lungs. While most allergy symptoms pop up immediately, you can also develop symptoms nearly 12 hours later.
Keep your home vacuumed to help control the dander. To be on the safe side, don’t let your pet in your bedroom to avoid getting doused in dander while you sleep. Plus, you should also brush your pet outdoors regularly to help keep allergens from your house.
- Manage the Pollen Around Your House
Pollen is an annoying allergen to deal with in the spring. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, then you may need to modify your daily routine to handle your allergy symptoms.
Start by keeping your windows shut in the car and at home, and use the air conditioning to deal with the heat. Pollen levels usually peak in the morning, so you should avoid doing outdoorsy activities until later in the day.
- Prevent Mold from Growing
Most mold spores are outside, but you may have mold growing inside your house. This is especially true if your house has a plumbing problem. Getting rid of the mold will help relieve your allergy symptoms. For example, you can use a bleach and detergent mix to remove mold from around your shower.
Mold spores from vegetation can go airborne, so you may also develop allergic reactions when outside. Allergic reactions to mold commonly occur in July and August.
- Treat Dust Mites
Those who are allergic to dust mites often experience the same symptoms as those who are allergic to pollen. The only difference is that dust mite allergies occur year-round instead of just during the spring.
Besides taking medication to relieve your symptoms, you can also place dust mite covers over your mattresses and pillows. Try washing your sheets in hot water at least once a week. You can also help relieve your symptoms by switching your pillows with hypoallergenic ones.
- Prevent Bug Bites
Various insects can cause you to develop an allergic reaction if they bite or sting you. Bees, wasps, fire ants, and yellow jackets can cause you to experience pain, redness, and inflammation.
To help prevent an allergic reaction from happening, you should take steps to prevent insects from attacking you. For example, avoid wearing brightly colored clothing when spending time in the yard. You should also keep bug spray handy, use unscented lotion, and avoid walking barefoot outside.
While none of these methods will cure your allergies, they can help you deal with the symptoms. Your goal should be to eliminate the allergens that are causing you problems. For example, you should eliminate any food from your diet that causes you to develop allergic reactions. If you are allergic to dust, try to keep your home as clean as possible to reduce your symptoms.
Finding a Medication That Works Best
Even if you do everything possible to avoid pollen and other allergens, you may still need medication to help ease your symptoms. Make sure to discuss medications with your doctor before you start taking any. Some allergy medications require a prescription. Your doctor can answer any questions or concerns that you have about the side effects.
Antihistamines can be taken as a pill or a nasal spray. The pill helps relieve a runny nose, sneezing and itching, while the nasal spray treats congestion and postnasal drip. If your symptoms are continuous, you may want to take an over-the-counter pill. These pills can make you drowsy, but they can also make your symptoms disappear for longer.
Some of the most common antihistamines include the following:
A decongestant can unclog your stuffy nose and help your upper respiratory tract. Decongestants reduce swelling and mucus formation. These drugs are available as pills, liquids, or sprays. Decongestants treat your allergies, but you may need to try other medication if you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
Since you spray nasal steroids directly into your nose, this form of medication is the most popular among those who suffer from seasonal allergies. These drugs help relieve common hay fever symptoms including congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. Doctors often recommend that you take this medication before pollen season even begins.
There are three popular forms of steroid sprays available:
- Rhinocort Allergy
- Nasacort Allergy 24HR
Doctors use allergy shots to retrain your immune system. Each time that you get a shot, the doctor will gradually increase the amount of pollen that he or she injects into your system. The goal of getting these shots is to have your body build up a resistance to pollen so that it will not go into allergy mode. This is more of a long-term option. In fact, it may take three to five years to get results.
Some allergy treatment options combine more than one type of drug. If you are struggling to find a medication that works best, you may want to try one of these products. Allegra-D, Claritin-D and Zyrtec-D are three examples of products that are both an antihistamine and a decongestant. These drugs help relieve congestion and runny noses.