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Effectively Managing and Minimizing Seasonal Allergies

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by Dr. Donna L. Hamilton, MD, MS

Manage and Mimimize Allergy Symptoms

Itchy, red eyes. Running nose. Lots of sneezing.  Sound familiar? To millions of people who suffer with environmental allergies it does.  For some, these symptoms offer an occasional nuisance. For others, they significantly affect their well-being.

Managing allergies isn’t just about making yourself more comfortable, though that’s a good enough reason.  An unchecked allergic response not only  affects your quality of life but also can lead to serious health issues. Headaches, stuffy nose and watery eyes often make it difficult to focus on work, do daily activities, or even to sleep. More serious conditions like sinusitis and asthma can also occur.

Though most people associate spring time with allergy symptoms they can happen throughout the year depending on your sensitivity. Tree pollen is the usual culprit during Spring, grass allergies during Summer and ragweed in Autumn. Dust, other indoor allergens like pet dander, and mold can trigger symptoms throughout the year.

Don’t despair. Just because triggers abound year round doesn’t mean you have to continuously suffer.  In addition to receiving medical support from your doctor you can take steps on your own to help keep symptoms at bay.  Add a few of these health boosting habits to  your personal wellness toolkit to help you overcome allergens.  You might be surprised at what a difference they make.

  • See your primary care doctor for evaluation and treatment if you think you have environmental allergies. You want to make sure nothing else is going on.
  • Know your triggers so you can prepared in advance. If your doctor prescribes medication to control allergies, she might also recommend you start taking it a few weeks before your difficult season starts. This helps your immune system prepare so you’re less sensitive.
  • Your doctor might give you a regimen that includes medications like antihistamine pills, eye drops, nose drops, and/or inhalers. She might also recommend non-pharmaceutical things like normal saline eye wash, a neti pot or normal saline nose spray to help wash pollen out of your eyes and nose. Whatever your regimen, be prepared with and have your supplies on hand as you get closer to the challenging season.
  • Minimize your exposure to allergens.
    • Keep outdoor time to a minimum during the peak pollen weeks during your sensitive season.  Avoid long walks outside. Keep house windows closed during that time. Drive with your windows up too.  It can be frustrating to miss out on fresh air, but sneezing, wheezing, and tearing is frustrating too.
    • Don’t hang your clothes out to dry during peak season.  They’ll get pollen covered while hanging. Who wants to wear allergens in addition to breathing them?
    • During peak season change your clothes when you get home.  You probably have pollen on them.
    • Sleep with your windows closed.  Pollen count increases overnight and your cortisol level (which helps your body generate an immune response) dips. This is a recipe for disaster for poorly controlled allergies, especially if you’re also prone to asthma.

 

Holistic Wellness Speaker and Wellness Luminary Donna Hamilton, MD has a mission to help everyone live the healthy, satisfying lives they’re meant to lead. She passionately teaches what being healthy really means and how to do it in a way that fits your unique needs. Her comprehensive approach to health and wellness addresses mental, emotional, social, spiritual and physical well-being. Dr. Hamilton-a former board certified pediatrician-now specializes in health optimization. She retired her white coat and stethoscope and now speaks nationally about holistically improving health and well-being.  To book Dr. Hamilton for speaking engagements visit www.ManifestExcellence.com