Ah, spring! The time of life and renewal, sunshine and perfect weather. But for some, the spring is not so perfect. For many people, spring is also the time of runny noses and itchy eyes, crumpled tissues and crawling skin. Spring allergies are a bummer. You’re supposed to be out celebrating the change in weather, not huddled under a mountain of tissue boxes.
The main culprit of spring allergies is pollen, which wafts off of trees, plants, grasses – you name it. Spring allergy sufferers are basically trapped inside the reproductive cycle of plants. It’s not a pretty place to be. Although sometimes you can see yellow clumps or clouds of pollen, individual pollen motes are so tiny that they can only been seen under a microscope. Those little guys are causing you all that trouble? Outrageous.
Allergies caused by pollen often manifest with symptoms like a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, postnasal drip and blocked sinuses, among others. Unlike the common cold, allergy symptoms won’t go away in a few days. They’ll stick around as long as they’ve got allergens to react to.
But how to beat spring allergies? The best way is to avoid allergens in the first place.
How to Avoid Allergens
Limit Time Outside
The outside is the domain of springtime, and also the domain of pollen. The pollen count is highest in the morning, so be extra cautious during that time.
Wear Some Gear
Avoid itchy and watery eyes by keeping pollen out of them entirely. If you wear glasses, they should protect your eyes from these allergens. If you don’t, get a pair of stylish sunglasses instead.
Close the Windows
Yes, we all want to feel that lovely spring breeze, but this is a sacrifice you’re going to have to make if you want to beat spring allergies. If you want a breeze, turn on the AC, not a fan. Fans draw in air and allergens from outside.
Keep the House Clean
Your shoes and pet’s paws track dust, dirt and pollen inside. Make sure your floors are vacuumed – preferably use one with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter – and furniture is dusted so that no trace amounts linger. Many allergy sufferers take their shoes off when they enter the house to limit the amount of allergens they track in.
How to Beat Spring Allergies and Their Symptoms
It’s very difficult to avoid pollen forever, unless you’re living in a bubble or on top of a glacier. Here’s what you can do to save yourself from the sniffles.
During springtime, drugstores are replete with antihistamines that can help alleviate or prevent the symptoms of allergies. You can get them as pills or, if you really need some relief, as nasal spray. Hit those allergens where it hurts: right in your nostrils.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
There are plenty of natural ways to alleviate some of your spring allergy symptoms. You can drink diluted organic apple cider vinegar (which is rich in potassium) to reduce a runny nose.
Clear Your Sinuses
You could also flush your sinuses with a neti pot – which is as soothing as it is completely disgusting. If you’ve never heard of a neti pot, it’s basically a teapot that you pour into one of your nostrils (while something unspeakable happens to the other nostril).
Another way to clear your sinuses is with steam, like the kind of steam you inhale during a hot shower. That same shower will also help rid you of any pollen that might be sticking to your skin or hair. A soothing vapor shower tablet can also help to enhance the benefits of the steam.
Eat and Drink the Stuffiness Away
Make sure you stay hydrated! Flush your system with water, and your, ahem, mucus will be thinner and easier to handle. Eating spicy foods will also help drain your mucus. So just pile on that hot sauce and tell all your friends it’s for health reasons.
Go to the Doctor
If none of these measures work for you, or if you have especially wicked allergies, go to the doctor. That’s what they’re there for! They can set you up with a prescription-strength antihistamine or offer other ways to beat spring allergies.
Do you suffer with spring allergies? Tell us how you deal with them in the comments below.
Note: This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.