Coping with Allergies

7 Simple Ways to Cope with Allergies

There’s nothing quite as annoying as having an unexpected allergy flare-up. Whether you’re allergic to pollen, mold, pet dander, or another type of irritant, an allergy attack can ruin your day and leave you feeling like a mess. Luckily, though, there are some ways you can make your allergies a little more bearable. Next time you have a flare-up, see if any of these ideas help you get some relief.

1. Understand where your allergies come from.

If you get springtime allergies, pollen is probably the culprit behind your stuffy nose and itchy eyes. If you sneeze every time you’re around a cat, pet dander is probably to blame. Not sure what’s causing your allergies? Ask your doctor to test you. An allergy test is quick and simple – your doctor will insert a tiny amount of an allergen under your skin and see whether you have a reaction. Once you know what’s causing your problems, you’ll know what to avoid.

2. Reduce your exposure to pollen.

Keep your windows closed in the springtime, especially on windy days, and stay inside between 10 AM and 4 PM whenever you can – pollen counts are usually highest during those hours. Take off your shoes when you come inside to avoid tracking pollen through the house. If you have pets, wipe them down when they come inside, so they don’t bring in pollen on their fur.

3. Avoid smoking tobacco.

Smoking irritates your lungs and makes your allergies worse. If you currently smoke, quitting will help you breathe more easily. Secondhand smoke is harmful, too, so stay away from it. Ask your family members and friends not to smoke around you, and don’t sit in public places where you might end up breathing someone else’s cigarette smoke.

4. Stay hydrated.

Feeling congested? Drinking more water might help. Staying hydrated thins out your mucus and keeps your airways clearer. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and try drinking warm tea to clear your sinuses.

5. Soothe your itchy eyes with eye drops.

Itchy, watery eyes are annoying and distracting. Get some relief by using over-the-counter eye drops. Look for a kind with antihistamine or decongestant properties, like Visine-A. Just be sure to read the packaging carefully, since not all eye drops are safe for frequent use.

6. Take over-the-counter allergy medications.

If you feel like your allergy symptoms are going to drive you crazy, relief could be as close as the nearest drugstore. Try an antihistamine medication, such as Claritin or Allegra, to combat allergy symptoms like sinus pressure or a runny nose. If those don’t help, decongestants or corticosteroids may work better for you. Do your research first, though – people with high blood pressure shouldn’t use decongestants. As with any other kind of medication, you should check with your doctor before you start taking anything for allergies.

7. Visit an allergist.

If your allergies are so severe that the above steps don’t help, don’t despair. Instead, visit an allergy specialist. They’ll be able to evaluate your allergies and prescribe more effective medicine for your symptoms. In extreme cases, you may want to consider getting allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy. During a course of immunotherapy, an allergist will inject you with very small amounts of allergens, which will help your body build up an immunity to them.

Allergies aren’t any fun, but while you may not be able to get rid of them completely, you don’t have to let them take over your life. Give these ideas a try, and you’ll be feeling better in no time.