How to Power Through Seasonal Allergies Like a Pro
Spring is in the air for Oklahoma City residents, signaling the arrival of seasonal allergies. Looming over the households of Oklahomans are the dreaded itchy throat and nasal congestion caused largely by pollen, as it tends to be the most pervasive allergy during spring. Trees, weeds and grasses release pollen into the air, fertilizing plants while, at the same time, causing suffering among residents. The weather is simply too nice to stay inside; instead, try following these six tips for reducing allergies!
1. Get to the Source of the Problem
Knowledge is power. Pinpointing the trigger behind your allergy fits will allow you to better control them. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), undergoing an allergy tests can give you an accurate diagnosis on what you are allergic to. Once you have a better understanding of what it is that’s bothering you, it becomes easier to take the necessary measures to prevent, or at the very least, reduce them. Don’t conduct your own at-home allergy test or enlist the help of an amateur. It’s essential that you consult a healthcare professional who has the right credentials. In this case, you’ll want to seek help from someone who has sufficient allergy/immunology training.
Not sure if an allergy test is right for you? If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, which have been provided by the AAAAI, schedule an allergy test as soon as possible.
- Respiratory: itchy eyes, nose or throat; nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, chest congestion, cough or wheezing.
- Skin: itchiness or eczema.
- Abdominal: vomiting or cramping consistently after eating certain foods.
- Severe reactions to stinging insect stings (other than swelling at the site of the sting).
- Anaphylaxis: a serious allergic reaction that affects many parts of the body at the same time.
2. Take Allergy Medicine
With the proper medication, you can relieve many of the symptoms that accompany allergies. Medicines like antihistamines and decongestants can help with stuffy or runny noses. However, healthcare professionals alike recommend not taking decongestants daily, as they could lead to a “rebound effect.” In short, this means that your symptoms could worsen from using them too often. Only use them when you need to and try not to use them after three days.
If you have itchy or watery eyes, taking eye drops can help relieve these symptoms quickly. Eye drops may even prevent symptoms too – depending on your prescription.
3. Wash Your Hair before Going to Bed
Pollen is everywhere – in the air, and also in your hair! By washing your hair before you go to bed, you can help rid it of any pollen that may have landed there earlier in the day. Washing the pollen out will also prevent it from rubbing off on your pillow.
4. Close Your Windows and Doors
This may come off as counter to what we usually preach in regards to improving your indoor air quality. However, some days just necessitate a more closed-off space. On high-pollen days, we recommend keeping your windows and doors closed as often as possible and turning on the A/C. Getting adequate fresh air each day is important, but if it comes at a high cost, don’t risk a pollen overload.
5. Take Your Shoes Off As Soon As You Get Home
If you haven’t yet made this a habit, now is the perfect time. The soles of your shoes carry nearly 421,000 units of bacteria on them. By keeping your shoes on, you’re spreading germs, not to mention pollen, all throughout your house.
Foster this healthier habit by keeping a shoe rack or basket by the door so it’s easier to remember.
6. Adjust Indoor Humidity Levels
Spores from mold could be another cause for your seasonal allergies. Aim for a humidity level of less than 60 percent if you have a humidifier. If you need to go lower than 50 percent, consider investing in a dehumidifier for your home. You want to reduce moisture and humidity as much as possible to prevent mold from popping up.
7. Have a Professional Test Your IAQ
Changing your air filter can simultaneously improve your indoor air quality and allergy symptoms. It’s best to change your HVAC air filter every 30 days. You can set a reminder on your calendar or write the date on your air filter every time you change it.
Interstate also provides HVAC maintenance and tune-ups to help with air quality and to prevent unnecessary expensive repairs. We do a full cleaning and inspection of your system, making sure that drains are clear, coils are cleaned, and insulation and ventilation are working properly. Check out our recent blog: “3 Important Reasons to Schedule Your Spring HVAC Tune-up!”
For more tips and information on beating seasonal allergies, check out these additional resources:
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s “Pollen Allergy”
- Everyday Health’s “8 Tips for Surviving a Horrible Allergy Season”
- Health’s “20 Ways to Stop Allergies”
For information or assistance with HVAC efficiency, give Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 405-794-8900.
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