5 Ways to Manage Seasonal Allergies

By: Dr. Michael Babcock

May 17, 2024

women in file of flowers

As we approach the warmer months, many plants bloom in northern Nevada, leading some to deal with the bothersome symptoms of seasonal allergies. Dr. Michael Babcock, a family medicine physician at Renown Medical Group—North Hills, discusses the effects of seasonal allergies and how to manage them.

1. Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers:

  • Stay indoors on dry and/or windy days.
  • Avoid outdoor tasks like weeding or gardening. If you must do chores outside, wear a face mask.
  • After being outside, shower to rinse off pollen and change into a new pair of clothes.

2. When there's a lot of pollen in the air, seasonal allergies can flare up.

These steps can help you reduce your exposure:

  • Check your local newscast or search online for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels. If pollen counts are high, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
  • Close doors and windows at night if possible or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid or reduce outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

3. Reduce allergy triggers by keeping your indoor air clean.

  • Use air conditioning in both your house and car.
  • Replace your home’s HVAC air filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
  • Use both a dehumidifier in combination with a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
  • Routinely clean your home to remove dust and dirt.

4. Try an over-the-counter remedy

  • Use an oral antihistamine as they can help relieve sneezing, itching, a stuffy or runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy) and loratadine (Claritin, Alavert).
  • Try a corticosteroid nasal spray. These medications improve nasal symptoms. Examples include fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Relief), budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy) and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour). Talk to your healthcare provider about long-term use of corticosteroid nasal sprays.

5. Rinse your sinuses

  • Rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution (nasal irrigation) to relieve nasal congestion. This can help flush out mucus and allergens from your nose. Saline solutions can be purchased over the counter as kits. Just make sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with clean water and leave it open to air-dry.

For most, reducing allergens and trying over-the-counter remedies will help. However, if you’re still dealing with bothersome allergy symptoms, talk to your primary care provider about other treatment methods and options. If your allergies are severe, your healthcare provider may give you an allergy shot or refer you to an allergist to have skin or blood tests done to find out exactly which allergens are triggering your symptoms and identify which treatment will be most helpful to you.

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