Stuffy nose? 6 ways to get rid of those annoying allergies
It’s that wonderful time of year again when you’re accompanied by used tissues wherever you go, you have to wear extra makeup to cover up those puffy eyes and your nose resembles a certain reindeer of Santa’s.
Yep, it’s spring, and while that means blooming flowers and vibrant plant life, it also means allergy sufferers may be feeling miserable.
But according to David Weldon, MD, an allergist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – College Station, you don’t have to go through another spring suffering from your symptoms. He offers some tips to help you stop the stuffy nose before it starts.
1. Recognize the problem
“People who have allergies can start to get an idea of the time of year when they are going to have problems,” Dr. Weldon said. “In anticipation of that, start taking an over-the-counter antihistamine or using over-the-counter eye drops.”
2. Stay indoors
During the months of the year when you know you’re going to be affected, try to stay indoors as much as possible. If you play outdoor sports or enjoy being outside even during allergy season, you may want to talk to your doctor about allergy shots.
3. Keep fresh air out
When you get in your car, make sure your air conditioner or heater is on recirculation and not fresh air, and avoid riding in the car with the windows down. Both of these methods will help to limit the pollen and allergens you are exposed to.
And even though the weather is mild and enjoyable during the springtime, it might also be necessary to keep your windows closed in your home in order to keep that pesky pollen from getting to your nose.
4. Use saline drops before stuffiness starts
“If your nose is not congested, but runny, then the saline nasal drops are very effective as far as washing out the pollen and other allergens that promote the allergic response,” Dr. Weldon said.
The problem is that most people wait until they are already congested before using the saline drops, which makes them less effective. If you miss your window, then a topical nasal decongestant might be your best option. But talk to your doctor before using one of these products because they can be addictive.
“If you use a topical decongestant, I recommend that you follow that with a saline flush and be sure to use a nasal steroid afterward,” he said. “The nasal steroid will keep you from becoming addicted to the nasal decongestant, and it works to reduce the underlying allergic reaction that promotes the nasal congestion and runny nose.”
5. Wash your hair
Studies have found that a large amount of pollen in the air gets attached to your hair. The hair acts as a pollen filter, collecting the allergy-inducing particles. To combat this problem, wash your hair before you get into bed every night during allergy season.
6. See an allergist
If you’ve noticed a pattern emerging year after year with your allergy symptoms, then it may be time to make an appointment with an allergy specialist.
“The best time to do it is before an allergy season or right after your allergy season,” Dr. Weldon said. “The earlier you get an opportunity to address this—perhaps with allergy shots—the better your response is going to be.”
Need help managing your allergies? Find an allergist near you.
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