Get Out There

Fighting Allergies to Enjoy Your Summer

We are well into the season of summer allergies. If a heatwave isn’t keeping you indoors, seasonal allergies might be stopping you from enjoying your time outside. We’ve been sharing some ways to enjoy time outside — and ways to stay cool inside if it’s just too hot to venture out! Now we’re looking at ways to beat your allergies so you can enjoy summer.

You should check in with your doctor about allergies before making any significant changes to how you treat them. And, if you don’t usually have allergies but are suddenly suffering from congestion, a runny nose, sore eyes and coughing, it could be something else. It’s not impossible to develop allergies as an adult, but it’s better to know that it is allergies and confirm that you don’t have an infection of some kind.

Pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, smoke, pollution and other irritants around you can cause allergic reactions that can make you miserable. Your immune system tries to fight them off with antibodies, even though you aren’t under attack. Your body’s reaction — rather than the triggers themselves — is what makes you feel so rough.

You can try treating your allergies with over-the-counter medications, like nondrowsy antihistamines. Your pharmacist can direct you to one that is right for you. Eye drops can help dry, itchy eyes, and many contain antihistamines. They can also be bought at the pharmacy, and they can provide rapid relief. Check the pollen count and pollen forecast online; you can take antihistamines in advance if necessary and stave off a reaction before it happens.

You can also use essential oils, like eucalyptus oil, to help clear your nose. People swear by it, and cineole found in eucalyptus can help sinusitis, according to research. But, the purity of essential oils isn’t regulated. So, if you do decide to use it, buy a reputable brand, speak to your healthcare provider and do a small patch test before applying it to your skin. You can also use it in a diffuser to disperse the oil into the air.

Two things from the last year can also help: masks and air purifiers. Many people rushed out to buy air purifiers for their homes at the beginning of the pandemic when we didn’t know how COVID-19 spread. If you have one, you know it cleans the air. Some folks on our team have them because we live in an area where wildfires can make air quality awful. We know they make a difference because of the filter’s color at the end of “fire season.” While air purifiers obviously won’t help you enjoy the great outdoors, they will help you recover. Masks also help. While you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors to protect yourself against COVID-19, it can help protect you from breathing in allergens.

If you don’t want to wear a mask, spreading a little Vaseline under your nostrils can help. It stops pollen from entering your nose and triggering a reaction. Another way to prevent irritants from entering your system is to tie long hair back. Hair can collect pollen from the air and then waft it into your face if it hangs loose. Having it pulled away from your face protects against that.

If it’s available, try adding local honey to your diet. Honey produced locally is made from the same pollen that is making you sick. Putting it into your body in this safer form can help you build up a tolerance. Consider adding it to green tea or chamomile tea, both of which are natural antihistamines! You should also drink plenty of fluids that can help flush out your system throughout the day.  

With these tips, we hope you can enjoy your summer, inside and outdoors more!    

Banner image: Artem Beliaikin via Unsplash

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