For many people, the beautiful flowers and mild weather brought by springtime are overshadowed by seasonal allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and a dripping nose. If this sounds like you, then you might be eager to find relief from your symptoms. However, you might be inadvertently making your symptoms worse with some common habits. We’ll take a look at some surprising ways you may be exacerbating your allergy symptoms—as well as some tips on how to break these bad habits.
Waiting too long to take antihistamines
You might think that it’s best to wait until you start feeling allergy symptoms to take an antihistamine. However, if you predictably experience seasonal allergies or you know which substances will trigger an allergic reaction for you, you’re better off front-loading with allergy medication. These histamine blocking meds work best when they are taken prior to allergen exposure, so make a routine of taking a 24-hour allergy pill each morning throughout allergy season.
Not planning for outdoor workouts
It’s a challenge to balance daily exercise with managing allergies. While you’ll want to get out for a daily run, walk, or bike ride, you may also risk increased exposure to irritating allergens. However, you can manage the risk. Before heading out for a workout, check pollen counts on your phone’s weather app. You can also wear gloves, a face mask, and wrap-around sunglasses to limit irritation. Once you get home, take a shower right away and toss your clothes right in the washing machine or in an enclosed laundry basket.
You may also think about taking a swim to work out, so you can avoid allergens in the air. But if you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool, you could be causing further irritation. If possible, find an alternatively-treated pool to swim laps. If you do take a dip in chlorinated water, wear goggles under the water and take a shower as soon as you get out.
Working too hard
Studies have linked anxiety to increased allergy symptoms, since stress triggers the production of IgE, which are blood proteins that lead to allergic reactions. If you’re under pressure from work, family life, or other obligations, you might notice a dramatic increase in your symptoms. While it might be impossible to eliminate your regular obligations, you can work to fight back against stress by ensuring you get enough sleep at night. Make room in your schedule to get a full 8 hours each night, which can keep both stress and allergy symptoms at bay.
Keeping plants in the home can help keep the air in your household cleaner and brighten up your space. Unfortunately, certain plants can cause allergic reactions—or make existing allergy symptoms worse. Problematic houseplants for allergy sufferers include ficus, orchids, yucca, ivy, palm, and ferns. If you do keep plants around the home, consider upgrading to a HEPA filter in your HVAC system to keep allergies away.
Not cleaning properly
You don’t have to clean compulsively to eliminate allergens around the house, but you should use the right methods to clean your home and your clothes. When you do laundry, use hot water to wash away allergens. You might also ditch paper towels and disposable wipes, opting for microfiber cloths and a cleaning solution of vinegar and water instead. Vacuuming can also go a long way, but if vacuuming tends to cause irritation, you might switch to a non-bagless vacuum. That way, dust, dirt, and other irritants will be contained when it’s time to empty the appliance, so you won’t be left sneezing and sniffling.
Having a glass of wine with dinner
Generally, the occasional cocktail or glass of wine won’t harm your health. However, during allergy season, it may be best to hold off on alcoholic beverages. Alcohol contains both bacteria and yeast, which can trigger bigger flare-ups when the immune system experiences an allergic reaction.
It’s not always easy maintaining the right habits for your health. Fortunately, MeMD is here to help. With convenient remote doctor’s visits, you can get sound medical advice without interrupting your busy schedule.