Seasonal allergies negatively affect more than 50 million Americans each year. Sneezing, sniffling, coughing, runny noses, and watery eyes are the body’s way of reacting to the mold spores and pollen that get carried through the air each season in Southern California.
Rain often offers sufferers a break from allergens, but the drought makes allergy season last longer and the effects are stronger than normal.
There are a number of over-the-counter options for the symptoms of seasonal allergies, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure and find some relief.
Limit exposure to pollen
Limiting pollen exposure may seem hard to do since it’s everywhere and it’s not always visible. The great news is that pollen is outside. So, if you can keep the pollen out of your home, you can reduce its effects on you.
- Keep windows closed — Most pollination occurs between 4 and 6 a.m. With that in mind, it’s also better to stay indoors if you can until about 10 a.m. to let the pollen settle.
- Shower each night — You’ll naturally pick up pollen on your clothing throughout the day, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. By showering as soon as you get home, you can limit its spread throughout your house.
- Change your hair product — Some hair products can act like a magnet for pollen. If it’s sticky, it can attract allergens to you, making you miserable. Try switching it up.
- Change air filters — You should change your air conditioning filters at least once a month. You might want to do it more frequently during allergy season.
- Bathe your pets — Pets pick up pollen just like you do. Allergy season may require more frequent bathing for your fur babies.
Diet can play a role in your body’s ability to fight off some of the effects of seasonal allergies. Foods that are rich in antioxidants — fruits, vegetables, and some nuts — can help your body fight against inflammation in your nasal passages. But be cautious when trying new foods or supplements, in case you happen to have a food allergy.
Other nutritional options include:
- Probiotics — Researchers are just scratching the surface on how gut health affects overall health. Some studies with regard to allergies have been promising but there is nothing conclusive.
- Honey — The belief is that locally sourced honey is full of local pollen which, when eaten over time, will eventually reduce your sensitivity to the pollen in your area.
- Oily fish — The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help decrease the narrowing of airways caused by some seasonal allergies, as well as asthma.
Using a simple saline spray can help keep your nasal passages clear and can help stop sneezing. Some people like using a neti pot to rinse their nasal passages with warm salt water. The important thing is to use bottled distilled water and to make sure to keep the pot clean to avoid the risk of infection or illness.
Helping you through allergy season
If you are suffering from seasonal allergies, our doctors and pharmacists can make recommendations about effective over-the-counter treatments. Depending on the severity of your allergies, we can also prescribe medications or recommend you to a specialist.
AltaMed is here to help you get control of your seasonal allergies. Use our tool to find the care you need to grow healthy year-round.