Allergy season can be a miserable time of year. It's hard to enjoy the warm sunshine and the singing birds when your nose is stuffy, your eyes are itchy, and all you want is some relief. While it's hard to get rid of allergies entirely, there are some things you can do ahead of time to relieve your symptoms and enjoy a more allergy-free spring. Put these tips to work for you, and you just might find that you enjoy the springtime a lot more.
1. Start taking allergy medications before your symptoms flare up.
If your allergy symptoms haven't kicked in yet, now is the perfect time to start taking your usual allergy medications. Many people don't realize it, but some types of allergy treatments - particularly nasal corticosteroid sprays - can take up to two weeks of daily use to start working. If you wait to start using them until your symptoms start, you'll have to deal with two weeks of completely preventable suffering.
2. Keep your windows closed.
After making it through the long, cold winter, you probably want nothing more than to open the windows wide and let the fresh air in. Try to resist the temptation, though. That fresh, warm springtime breeze could be carrying pollen inside with it - and once pollen is in your house, it's very difficult to get rid of it all. If you really must open the window, try to do so at night, when pollen counts are lower. Better still, just step outside to enjoy the weather, and keep your house sealed off.
3. Pay special attention to keeping your house clean.
Even if you keep your windows closed, you can still track pollen inside after being out and about. There are a few ways you can combat this, though. First, take off your shoes (and jacket, if you're wearing one) immediately after you get inside. Second, make an effort to sweep and vacuum your floors every day, and wipe off surfaces like tables and countertops with a damp rag. Doing this every day will prevent pollen from building up in your carpets and other areas of the house.
4. Change the filter in your air conditioner.
Have you replaced the filter in your air conditioner yet? If not, now is the perfect time to do so. Filters get clogged and dirty faster than you might think, and an old filter could be circulating all kinds of allergy-unfriendly things into your house - including pollen, mold, and plain old dust. A good rule of thumb is to change the filter in your air conditioner every three months.
5. Pay attention to pollen counts.
Going outside is unavoidable during allergy season. However, some times of day are better for going out than others. Mornings, in particular, tend to trigger symptoms in people with allergies, so do your best to limit going outside between 5 AM and 10 AM. Late afternoons and evenings tend to have lower pollen counts, so try to run your errands and do your lawn care during these hours. Take the weather into consideration, too. Damp, rainy days tend to have the lowest pollen counts. Pollen is often high on dry, sunny days, especially if the wind is strong.
6. Invest in a neti pot.
Many people with allergies find that nasal irrigation brings them some relief. Buy a neti pot and learn how to use it before your symptoms start, so that you'll be prepared when you need it. Don't forget to sterilize your pot before each use.
Allergies aren't much fun, but there are some things you can do to reduce their effects on you. Starting treatment ahead of time and getting into the habit of avoiding pollen whenever possible will help you have a more enjoyable and less congested allergy season this year.