I don’t mean literally but my allergies sometimes make me feel like my head is ready to explode. I have tried almost everything, even having my sinuses roto rooted with surgery yet still am plagued with the seasonal flare ups…which can be any season!
Seasonal allergies affects between 20 and 40 million people in the United States so I am not alone. The maze of remedies can be overwhelming so I tried to break it down a little.
What causes allergies?
For most people seasonal allergies are caused by pollens, fungus and mold present in the air during certain seasons. They trigger inflammation that leads to release of histamines that dilates blood vessels in the nose and eyes causing them to water.
Spring brings tree pollen. In late spring and early summer we see grass then weed pollen is late summer to early fall.
What about prevention without medication?
Pollen is most high between 5 a.m. - 10 a.m. so avoid outdoor activity at this time. Check the pollen count via TV or Internet and if the count is high then stay in the air-conditioning. Don’t roll the windows down while driving. Use a mask when outside especially while gardening. Make sure it has a filter as paper ones are not very effective. Take a shower or a bath to remove the pollen before you go to bed.
Normal saline and Neti pots have become popular. They act as a power wash to wash away the pollen as well as the congestion. Used daily, many people will not need any medications. They also help to make medications more effective because they clear away mucus so the sprays can act right on the membrane.
Let’s talk about medications.
Check out this great overview article
Many people will take a decongestant.
This will only treat the symptom of congestion, not the root cause or the watery or itchy eyes.
A word of caution. Pseudoephedrine SUDAFED or phenylephrine also marketed as SUDAFED PE are two different decongestants.
THE PACKAGING LOOKS THE SAME BUT THE MOST EFFECTIVE ONE MUST BE BOUGHT BEHIND THE COUNTER IN MANY STATES.