If you’re sniffling and sneezing, it may not be a cold, but rather, seasonal allergies. Symptoms of seasonal allergies may range from mild to severe, but the most common are: sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy and/or watery eyes, hives, fatigue, coughing, scratchy throat, and ears. If seasonal allergies are to blame for your sniffling and sneezing, it may be due to an overabundance of pollen in the air, from grass, trees, weeds or mold.
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, results from an overreaction of the immune system. This can cause the body to attack an otherwise harmless substance, such as pollen or mold as in enters into the body by way of the nose or mouth. The body attacks it, similar to the way it attacks germs. This is why seasonal allergies can mimic the same symptoms as the common cold. However, unlike a cold, allergies are not accompanied by a fever or body aches.
Tips to Combat Seasonal Allergies
Don’t let seasonal allergies keep you indoors. Follow these tips to help you get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun.
- Take Vitamin C. “Allergens may cause cells in your body to produce histamine, which is responsible for excessive mucus and a runny nose,” says PIH Health Family Medicine physician Scott Lee DO. Adding vitamin C each day helps to prevent the formation of histamine.
- Nasal Spray. Nasal sprays can help especially when your nose is extremely clogged by reducing nasal membrane inflammation, allowing you to breathe easier.
- Nasal Rinse. Nasal rinses help to soften and push mucus through your nasal passage ways, allowing for irritants to pass through and out of your nose.
- Vacuum and dust weekly. Reducing allergens in your house is a good way to avoid allergy attacks indoors, such as coughing and itchy, watery eyes. Try wearing a mask as you clean to avoid ingesting allergens.
- Keep windows closed. Wind and lawn mowers can kick pollutants into your home if your doors or windows are open. Keep them shut and turn on your air conditioner to the recirculation setting to keep outdoor allergens from entering your home. If you do not have an air conditioner, a fan is a good substitute, just point it away from your face.
- Change clothing when you get home. Remove shoes by the door or leave them outside and change out your clothes. Any pet dander, pollen or air pollutants can stick to clothing and bottoms of shoes and be tracked into the house.
- Take a shower. Pollen and pet hair can stick to your skin and hair. Take a shower to wash them off. This will also prevent the transmission of such pollutants from sticking to bed sheets or furniture.
If allergies persist, call your primary care physician to set up an appointment, as you may need a prescription or further advisement to help you through the allergy season. In need of a family physician? Visit, https://www.PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor/