In recent years, seasonal allergies have been giving us a tough time. From high pollen counts to the prevalence of hay fever, allergy misery is increasing.

The spring has proven to be a particularly tough period. With pollen and mold spore counts hitting all-time highs in many parts of the country, allergies are hard to avoid. With climate change making allergy season last longer, things are looking grim.

The good news: you can still do a lot to manage this predicament.

Here’s how to get rid of seasonal allergies in a simple and effective manner

1. Recognize the Symptoms

Seasonal allergies tend to affect the nose, eyes, mouth, or sinuses. That said, not everyone experiences the full array of symptoms.

For example, hives and watery eyes are classic allergy symptoms. However, other symptoms such as cough, stuffy nose, or sinus pain can also be signs of infection. If they don’t go away after a week or two, they’re probably an allergic reaction.

Keep in mind that seasonal allergies can vary by the time of year. If you know when your symptoms are at their worst, it’s easier to figure out what you’re allergic to. Of course, the best way to be sure is to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

2. Use the Right Allergy Relief

If your symptoms are worse than usual, your go-to meds may not work as well. One solution is to experiment with other drugs to get allergy relief.

Over-the-counter antihistamines help with sniffles, whereas decongestants can relieve a stuffy nose. Still, many patients find that one type works better than another. If you take the indicated dosage and it doesn’t help, try switching to other brands.

You may want to start by taking 10 mg of Claritin per day (5 mg for children). Other options include Zyrtec or Benadryl at the same doses. The latter can cause a “hangover” effect, so don’t take it before driving.

3. Give Nasal Sprays a Go

For a lot of people, pills won’t be enough to manage seasonal allergy symptoms. Congestion and post-nasal drip are particularly hard to deal with.

This is where nasal sprays — both medicated and non-medicated — can come in. A nasal steroid spray is great at relieving swelling and inflammation caused by allergies. Saline sprays loosen mucus congestion and moisturize dry nasal passages.

Daily nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort are a good place to start. Keep in mind that these sprays take a few days to kick in. For added protection, add a regular saline spray that you can use whenever needed.

4. Start as Early as Possible

The thing about seasonal allergies is that you need to take them seriously. If you keep brushing them off, they’re more likely to take a toll on your body.

For instance, many people only use allergy meds on their “bad” days. Though this is better than nothing, it amounts to chasing the issue instead of preventing it. For best results, take your meds at a consistent time and keep it up throughout the season.

Next year, try taking antihistamine a week or two before the pollen season begins. This allows you to get a jump on your symptoms. The first day of spring tends to fall around the third week of March, so start your regimen before that.

5. Avoid Certain Medications

If used incorrectly, many popular allergy meds do more harm than good. The problem is, you likely don’t know that you’re doing it the wrong way.

For example, Afrin is very effective at clearing up nasal congestion. Still, if you use it for more than 3-4 days, your nose may become “addicted.” It’s best to treat Afrin as a once-in-a-while medication and use other sprays for daily needs.

If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, you need to be selective with your meds. Again, Afrin may not be the best choice here. Other than raising blood pressure, it can cause anxious feelings similar to an overdose from caffeine.

Sudafed is a popular decongestant pill that can create a similar effect. Even if you don’t have heart issues, treat Sudafed like coffee and don’t use it after midday.

6. Watch Out for Pollen Counts

During the allergy season, it’s best to stay indoors unless necessary. If you want to go outside, check pollen counts in the morning to ensure it’s okay.

Don’t forget that pollen is often highest in the mid- or late-afternoon. This allows you to work around it by running your errands first thing in the morning. On high-pollen days, you should trade your daily stroll for an indoor workout.

When at home, keep your windows closed and take advantage of a home air cleaner. One exception would be if you’re allergic to mold and other indoor allergies. In this case, some fresh air can help clear these allergens from your home.

7. Use Honey as a Cough Remedy

You’ve heard it, and it’s true — raw honey can protect you against allergies. Research suggests that it can be as effective as over-the-counter cough remedies.

The great thing about honey is that it contains traces of an allergen called flower pollen. By exposing yourself to small amounts of flower pollen, you can build up an immunity to allergies. Honey also has useful anti-inflammatory effects.

You can eat raw honey by itself or mix it into tea or hot water. The one thing you shouldn’t do is give it to children younger than a year. Their immune systems aren’t equipped to handle it, and this can lead to infant botulism.

More on How to Get Rid of Seasonal Allergies

Yes, managing seasonal allergies often feels like a part-time job. Still, these tips should help you get through it with as little fuss as possible.

One final tip: try not to drag allergens throughout your home. As soon as you arrive, throw your clothes in the hamper and leave the shoes outside the door. If you have an outdoor pet, wipe their fur and paws when they enter your home.

Interested in knowing more about how to get rid of seasonal allergies? Want to make sure that your home is ready for allergy season? Check out our Tiny Living section!

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