The article below was originally published on WebMd.com Whether it’s summer, spring, or winter allergies stuffing you up, you can do a lot to manage — or prevent — allergy symptoms, including:
Avoid Allergens. The first and best treatment for winter allergies is to avoid what you’re allergic to. For example, stay indoors when the wind is whipping up damp leaves in the yard, and keep indoor allergens to a minimum by mopping, sweeping, and dusting often.
Wash Away Allergens. Washing your hands and face frequently reduces the number of allergens you carry — and spread. When allergy symptoms are intense, take a shower; it removes allergens from your hair and encourages you to change the clothes that allergens may be clinging to. A bonus: The steam of a hot bath or shower may relieve allergy symptoms like sinus congestion.
Wash Bedding Often. Most bedrooms are havens for pet dander and dust mites. You can keep these and other allergens down by washing your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in hot water. A weekly wash is great, but twice a month is fine, too.
And Get Better Bedding. Look for bedding that’s specially designed to be less permeable to allergens like dust mites. You can start your search online with the term “allergy bedding.”
Try a Saline Solution. Irrigation with saltwater is a great home remedy to relieve the nasal congestion that may be part and parcel of winter allergies. Look for saline at most drugstores, or make your own by mixing in a squirt bottle one teaspoon of non-iodized salt to eight ounces of water.
Get More Moisture. When you’re blowing your nose all the time and the thermostat is cranked up, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Pump up the fluids by carrying around a water bottle, eating more water-rich fruits and veggies, or enjoying hot tea. A side benefit to hot drinks: their steam may reduce nasal congestion.
The Air Needs Moisture, Too. It’s an indoor balancing act: Too little moisture in the air may irritate nose and throat; too much encourages mold and mildew growth. Costing as little as $5, a hygrometer — a humidity monitor — can help you track the moisture in your house and adjust with a humidifier/dehumidifier accordingly. Aim for humidity no lower than 30% and no higher than 50%.
Take Allergy Medication. Allergy meds can relieve symptoms like itchy eyes and nasal congestion, yet over-the-counter or prescription drugs won’t do you much good if you don’t use them right. Managing winter allergies is easier if you take medication before symptoms appear, and if you remember that taking more medicine doesn’t lead to fewer symptoms. Follow label directions carefully and you should get the relief you crave. You’re not alone with winter allergies. More than 40 million Americans are allergy-prone year-round. If you aren’t getting the relief you need with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medication, it may be time to talk to an allergist.
To read about the Top Triggers for Winter Allergies, Click Here.
Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine (allergy/immunology); program director, allergy/immunology fellowship program, Medical College of Wisconsin.
Steven H. Cohen, MD, FAAAAI, associate clinical professor, Medical College of Wisconsin. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: “Allergies vs. Colds,””Preparing Your Home For Battle: Fighting Indoor Allergies.”
Alan Goldsobel, MD, spokesman, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; physician, Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California.