Whether you like it or not, warmer weather has returned and brought its favorite sidekick along with it: seasonal allergies. Here’s everything you need to know in order to kick itchy eyes and runny noses to the curb.
Why it matters: Pollen levels are only increasing, leaving more and more people to deal with seasonal allergies.
- A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in February 2021 reported a lengthening of the pollen season by 20 days and a 21% increase in pollen concentrations between 1990 and 2018, reports Yale Medicine.
What they’re saying: Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist at the Rutgers University Center of Environmental Prediction, spoke on the rising amount of allergies, saying, “We’re seeing increases in both the number of people with allergies and what they’re allergic to,” according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
What to do: There are many over-the-counter options to help minimize allergy symptoms.
- Yale Medicine allergist Dr. Florence Hsu recommends starting out with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays to help with nasal congestion or antihistamine eye drops for itchy eyes, according to Yale Medicine.
- Decongestants from popular brands like Benadryl, Vicks or Afrin may offer additional relief.
- If you are in need of something a bit stronger, allergy shots might work for you. Dr. Sima Patel, allergist at New York Allergy and Sinus Center, says allergy shots can improve symptoms for up to 85% of patients, depending on the study you reference, per SingleCare.
If you’re looking for natural remedies, here are some nonmedical ways to help lower the strength of your symptoms:
- Stay inside on days that are dry or windy. Going outside after a rainstorm is better, because precipitation helps clear pollen from the air, according to Mayo Clinic.
- Remove and wash clothes that have been worn outside and shower to rinse any pollen from your hair and skin, per Mayo Clinic.
- Pets can bring in pollen from outside, so make sure to bathe them regularly, reports The Humane Society.
- Remove excess moisture from the air by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
- Try acupuncture — Healthline reports, “A 2015 review of 13 studies concluded that acupuncture demonstrated positive results for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.”
- Add spirulina to your smoothies. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found dietary spirulina had antiallergic effects towards allergic rhinitis, according to Healthline.