If you experience seasonal allergies, you probably know how it feels to say no to doing certain things during the summer months. Or you’re familiar with that feeling of awkwardness when your allergic reactions come to the fore.
Studies from various corners of the world indicate that as many as half of us suffer from some sort of allergy, and as many as 20% suffer specifically from hay fever.
While each individual’s experience of allergies will differ, we can do many things to ensure that we don’t suffer too much during the summer months.
1. Know your allergy triggers
Do you know what you’re allergic to that causes a reaction?
Treating seasonal allergies is relatively straightforward if you know your triggers. For example, whether grass pollen, dust mites, or something else triggers allergic rhinitis or gives you watery eyes, once you know what’s causing your reaction, you can avoid the causes and treat your allergy symptoms.
If you’re not sure what triggers your allergic reactions, you may be able to undergo skin tests or other types of analysis to help you better understand what’s making you suffer.
2. Know your remedies
Once you know what triggers your allergic reactions, you can choose the appropriate allergy medications, such as nasal sprays or oral antihistamines, to treat them.
You can often buy medication to manage your allergy symptoms over the counter. However, if your symptoms are more severe, you should speak to your doctor, who may be able to prescribe more potent medicines to ease your discomfort and help you look forward to the warmer months.
3. Stay indoors if you can
It's only natural to want to head outside when the weather is warm and bright. But is it worth it if your allergies make you feel less than glorious?
Sometimes, even having all our allergy medicines to hand isn’t enough to prevent a reaction, so there will be days when staying home if you can is the best choice.
If you already benefit from flexible working or can work from home, speak to your employer about being able to choose when you stay home based on pollen forecasts.
4. Close the windows
When you’re staying home but want to bring the outside in, the first thing many of us do is open the window. But if you experience seasonal allergies, you’re inviting the stuff you’re trying to avoid by not going out to come to you instead.
If your home gets hot in the summer and doesn’t have air conditioning, consider buying a standalone unit or fan to keep yourself cool. Many modern fans include air filters and are relatively inexpensive, so you won’t have to make a significant hole in your finances to stay home in comfort.
5. Keep clean
We all got used to washing our hands regularly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But keeping clean is a great tip for helping to avoid the worst reactions to seasonal allergies, too.
The most significant actions most of us can take involve adopting a routine when we arrive home. While finally being indoors can relieve our allergies, it’s easy to forget that allergens like pollen and dust might be all over our clothes, hair and skin.
So, whenever you get home, try and do the following:
- Immediately remove your shoes and leave them at the door.
- Remove your clothes and immediately place them in a laundry bin.
- Take a shower.
If you don’t already follow this routine, it could make a significant difference!
6. Wear a face mask
Depending on where you live, wearing a face mask might be something you’ve done for many years. Alternatively, it could be something else you did during the last few years and may or may not have continued the habit.
Just like masks of a good standard will help keep you safe from viruses, they’ll also reduce your exposure to pollen, dust and other allergens. Companies that produced face masks during the pandemic are still selling them, often rebranded specifically as anti-allergy or hayfever masks – so finding a suitable one for your needs should be easy.
7. Have a drink
“Drink plenty of fluids” is medical advice 101 whenever you’re suffering from influenza or a common cold.
It’s good advice for dealing with seasonal allergies, too, and not just because you need to stay hydrated. Drinking anything – but ideally water – can help thin mucus and make it easier for you to breathe and blow your nose. If you opt for hot drinks, the steam from these will help clear your sinuses too.
8. Tidy up
In the same way that dust, pollen and other allergens can cling to your clothes, they're likely all over your home, too. Especially if you had no option but to open the window!
Ensuring surfaces in your home remain clean and dust free is a great way to minimise your exposure to allergens. Plus, if you have an air conditioning unit or a fan, you'll reduce the volume of allergens blown around your home, improving the air quality and boosting your health overall.
Dealing with seasonal allergies
Dealing with seasonal allergies can take significant effort and sometimes involve a profound change to our routines. But for the benefits you’ll enjoy by not experiencing such severe reactions during the spring and summer months, they’re changes worth making.