The warmer, sunny weather of spring may call you outside to soak up the sun but it also brings pollen and allergies with it.
If you are among the many South Africans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you probably know the symptoms that tend to flare up at this time of year.
In spring trees and flowers start to bloom and pollen floats into the air and this is what can trigger off hay-fever and other allergic reactions.
Symptoms may be mildly annoying or severely debilitating.
Identify the symptoms
According to nasal decongestant manufacturer flonase.com, one of the most common and bothersome symptoms reported for allergies is nasal congestion.
Some of the other symptoms include:
- Watery eyes[*]Sneezing[*]Coughing[*]Itchy eyes and nose[*]Dark circles under the eyes
Allergens also can trigger off a bout of asthma, which makes breathing difficult. This can also lead to coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Tips to handle allergies
Unfortunately, allergies can prevent you from enjoying spring. In fact, enjoying anything is hard when your nose is troubling you.
Here are eight tips to keep your allergies under control this spring.
1. Keep the windows closed on windy days
There are ways to avoid exposing yourself to loads of pollen.
Fight back by keeping your windows closed on windy days. And, if you have an air conditioner, turn that on instead as the filter will help to keep pollen from entering your home.
Also try to avoid fans which distribute dust, especially if you do not clean them regularly.
2. Run an air purifier
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An air purifier reduces allergen exposure – but only if you close your windows and pets are not around.
The device tries to keep the air as clean as possible. Therefore, it is best to keep it in your bedroom or working space.
Also clean the room frequently to reduce allergens and ensure that the purifier can work effectively.
3. Take allergy medication
You can buy over-the-counter medicine to help you with a runny nose or itchy eyes.
It is important to talk to your pharmacist about your symptoms. Also read the package carefully, as some medications can make you drowsy.
If all else fails, your pharmacist might recommend getting an allergy shot.
4. Be wise when exercising outdoors
Pollen levels vary throughout the day, so be strategic about when you head outside to exercise.
If you know you have severe allergies, you may want to consider moving indoors for some exercise.
Keep in mind that sunny, warm, windy days with low humidity generally have high pollen counts.
5. Spring clean your space
There is nothing like a fresh, clean space to mark the beginning of spring. Especially after a long winter during which indoor allergens like dust and pet hair may have piled up.
6. Rinse your sinuses
Nasal irrigation may provide allergy relief, despite looking awkward.
Squirt a saline solution up one nostril and out the other to flush allergens out. Neti pots (containers designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nose) are an alternative. They can be very effective at cleansing the nasal passages.
7. Throw out the carpet
For allergy sufferers, wooden and tiled floors are preferable to carpets.
Rugs and carpets are known for attracting and accumulating allergens such as pet hair, pollen, dust and dust mites.
If your home has built in carpeting, vacuum regularly. Allergens from your shoes can get embedded in the fibres, making your home less allergy friendly.
8. Shower before going to bed
If you have spent the day outside, the odds are that your clothes will have accumulated pollen and dust.
Take a shower before going to sleep to wash allergens off your body and out of your hair.
This will help keep your bed clean, giving you a better chance of getting a restful night's sleep.