7 tips to beat hay fever

Hay fever is a common disease that affects nearly 19 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Also known as allergic rhinitis or nasal allergy, hay fever can be seasonal, perennial (year round), or work-related. Rhinitis refers to irritation or inflammation of the nose.

Common symptoms include:

  • runny nose
  • nasal congestion
  • sneeze
  • watery, red, or itchy eyes
  • cough

Symptoms of hay fever usually start right after exposure to the allergen. Allergens can be found indoors or outdoors, and they can be seasonal or throughout the year.

Other irritants include:

These allergens will trigger your immune system, which mistakenly identifies the substance as something harmful.

In response to this, your immune system produces antibodies to defend your body. When triggered, these antibodies signal your blood vessels to widen and your body to release inflammatory chemicals, like histamine.

It is this response that causes the symptoms of hay fever.

Fortunately, hay fever is not too difficult to manage. You can even prevent symptoms from developing if you take antihistamines before the pollen is in the air.

However, if you are already experiencing the symptoms of hay fever, you have probably missed the prevention step.

As summer approaches and the number of pollens increases, here are our top tips for controlling your hay fever. You can try:

Antihistamines

There are many non-drowsy antihistamines available over the counter. When you first experience symptoms, it is best to ask your pharmacist which type will work the most.

If your symptoms are severe, you can also contact your doctor. They can help you explore a number of prescription medications or other options, such as immunotherapy or seasonal allergy shots.

Essential oils

Planning a long hot bath? There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that eucalyptus essential oil can help clear a stuffy nose.

In addition, a 2009 study have found that cineole, which is the main component of eucalyptus oil, can be an effective and safe treatment for sinusitis that does not include antibiotics.

Alternatively, you can use a diffuser to disperse the oil.

Although research suggests that there are health benefits, the FDA does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It is important to speak with your health care provider before you start using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always make a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Eye drops

One of the worst symptoms of hay fever is itchy, dry, bloodshot eyes. Investing in eye drops is the fastest way to fight it.

Antihistamines are one of the most effective ingredients in eye drops aimed at relieving allergies. Far away provides 12 hour protection and can easily be used to treat common allergic reactions like hay fever.

Simply tilt your head back and place a drop or two in your eyes four times a day. Wear contact lenses? You can still use these eye drops (follow the directions on the package).

Air purifier

Air purifiers work primarily by cleaning the air, which can include pollutants, allergens, and toxins. And Research 2015 shows that its use can help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies like hay fever.

Several air purifiers are available from Amazon and other vendors. Consider a few options to begin your research:

You can also search for air purifiers and filters certified anti-asthma and allergen devices by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. An allergist may also have specific recommendations tailored to your needs and lifestyle.

Cold compress

Dry, itchy eyes usually respond well to a cold compress. And if you’re pressed for time, this is a quick and easy fix.

To make a cold compress, dip a clean washcloth in a bowl of ice and water. Then put it on your closed eyes for 5-10 minutes.

You can also use a bag of frozen peas.

Saline nasal rinses

Stuffy nose? A saline nasal rinse can help. A saline rinse works by restoring moisture to the nasal passages and relieving inflammation of the mucous membranes, which can provide instant relief from hay fever symptoms.

Simply pour saline solution into one nostril. As it circulates through your nasal cavity, it removes mucus and allergens.

You can do this with a syringe ampoule or neti pot, both of which can be purchased at your local pharmacy.

Wear a mask

For some, masks are now mandatory in some places – good news for those suffering from hay fever. Wearing a mask can reduce the amount of pollen and other allergens you are exposed to, potentially reducing your symptoms.

Just wear your mask correctly when you are outside.


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