Just when you thought you had made it through sick season, spring provides another bout of issues: allergies.
From runny noses and itchy eyes to sneezes that can topple mountains, it seems that no matter the weather our bodies are armed with another (annoying) reaction. It is hard to appreciate this early gift of spring weather when you are spending most of your time with a Kleenex box and pointing fingers at potential triggers…darn you beautiful cherry blossoms! You can outsmart allergy season by managing your environment.
I didn’t know that I had allergies until I trained for a half marathon and spent way more time on the tracks than I did on the treadmill. At the end of every run I would be thrilled to get back inside and shut the door on the allergy invaders that were bombarding me while I was outside. Unfortunately even with the doors closed, the itchy eyes, scratchy nose and sneezing did not give me a break. I quickly learned that I had to take action inside of my house.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, minimize your symptoms and exposure to irritants by going on allergy watch in your house:
- Vacuum the carpets and change your sheets frequently. Make this a part of your weekly chore list to keep things fresh!
- Avoid brooms as they stir up dust. A wet mop works best without having to finish a day of cleaning with red, puffy eyes.
- Although the nice weather practically taunts you to keep the windows open, those that are hypersensitive to the weather would benefit from keeping the AC on and the windows closed. Remember this when you are driving and want to cruise down the roads with the windows down.
- After a run outside or time in your garden, change your clothes. This reduces the risk of carrying any outdoor irritants back into the house. And keep your shoes in a designated area by your door rather than migrating potential allergens through your most frequented areas.
- If you have a pet that spends a lot of time sunbathing outdoors make sure you bathe them often. This will reduce the chance of bringing pollen or other bothersome particles into your home.
- Give yourself a good scrubbing too. Whenever you come inside immediately wash your hands and rinse your eyes. Shower if you can. When you are outdoors you are an allergy magnet so a good rinse off can keep the allergy invasions at bay.
- Give your throw pillows and blankets a quick tumble in the dryer. These couch items are typically skipped over during a cleaning frenzy but may be full of tiny flakes (or pet hair from dogs that are getting cozy on your couch while you are away) that could be making your nose tingle like crazy.
- Sleep with a humidifier and place an air purifier in the enclosed spaces you spend a lot of time (like the living room). This will help keep the air around you clean.
- Take a hot bath and relax! Stress can promote your allergic response so a little “me time” may stop those lurking allergens in their spot. Another option: yoga. The deep breathing and body placement during certain poses can open your lungs and clear your nasal passage. So after those floors are vacuumed, pop in a yoga DVD!
- Boost your body’s defenses by going green. Green tea (the Hail Mary of all teas) can soothe the common symptoms of allergy season and lessen your need for OTC medication while helping your immune system when it is under attack from pet dander, dust, pollen and more.
- Adjust your outdoor activity to specific times of the day especially for those that are pollen sensitive. Pollen counts are at their peak from around 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and dwindle after a rain or during the evening, so a night run would leave you less irritated by spring’s bounty. Pollen.com shares an allergy forecast that can help you better maneuver through an allergy nightmare. Consider working out indoors on the days that the forecast is not in your favor.
Of course, if your allergy flare-ups are constant or impacting your day-to-day actions it may be a good idea to speak to a professional about having an allergy test. You want to have spring fever without the frenzy of bothersome particles cramping your style during a patio lunch or trail run!
Do you have any allergies? How do you stop them in their tracks? Comment below!
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