While you can’t always prevent allergies, you can avoid exposure to the substances that trigger them. And when that doesn’t work, over-the-counter medications are your best bet for fast allergy symptom relief. Nonprescription drugs that can ease allergies include:
- Oral antihistamines: Antihistamines relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes. Examples include:
- Decongestants: When taken orally, decongestants provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Be cautious about using decongestants several days in a row, however, because long-term use can worsen symptoms. Examples of decongestants include:
- Nasal sprays: Cromolyn sodium nasal sprays block the release of histamines and leukotrienes that cause allergy symptoms. Comparatively, these sprays have few side effects.
- Nasal corticosteroids: Nasal corticosteroids alleviate inflammation in the nose and inhibit allergic reactions and are considered one of the most effective drugs that can reduce all allergy symptoms including nasal congestion.
8 natural ways to defeat allergies
Keep allergies at bay with the following tips:
- Wash up. When outdoors, your clothes, shoes, hair, and skin get covered with tiny dust particles. Always take a shower and change your clothes after coming home to wash away any potential allergens.
- Mask up. Wear an N95 respirator mask when you have to be in areas that have allergy triggers. An N95 mask blocks 95% of small particles including pollen.
- Eat healthy. Try adding one fresh fruit and vegetable to every meal. Studies have shown that children who ate lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts had fewer allergy symptoms. And while there isn’t enough concrete evidence to prove how effective diet is for symptom control, it doesn’t hurt to try, since a healthy diet is good for overall health.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more water, juice, or nonalcoholic drinks if you feel stuffy or have a runny nose. Warm liquids, such as tea, broth, or soup can give you some relief.
- Avoid harsh chemicals. Use natural cleaners instead of harsh chemicals to avoid worsening symptoms.
- Use a steam inhaler. Inhale steam to ease a stuffy nose and make breathing easier.
- Stay away from smoke. cigarette smoke and other fumes that can worsen your symptoms. Other fumes that can aggravate your symptoms include aerosol sprays and smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.
- Try acupuncture. Acupuncture has been proven to provide relief from allergy symptoms, although the exact reason for this is unknown.
How can I prevent allergies from flaring up?
- Identify your allergens. Top environmental allergens include:
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
- Household hold
- Eliminate or control the allergens. Once identified, you should either control or eliminate the allergen. For example:
- Animal dander: If you have a pet in your house, avoid allowing it in your bedroom. Brush your dog or cat outside to prevent allergens from getting trapped inside. When shopping for furniture, choose leather over fabric if possible.
- Dust mites: Use allergy-proof covers for bedding and wash your bedding weekly in hot water.
- Pollen: Keep your windows shut and use the air conditioner when indoors. Also, drive with your car windows shut to avoid pollen from entering the vehicle. You can also install high-efficiency particulate absorbing filters in your air-conditioning system and a panel filter on your furnace.
- Household mold: Apply your walls with a mixture of cleaning solution made with 5% bleach or peroxide and a small amount of detergent to kill mold.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your nose.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.
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Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies). https://www.aafa.org/rhinitis-nasal-allergy-hayfever/
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