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3 must-haves for seasonal allergies treatment

If seasonal allergies leave you blurry, stuffy, sneezy and sleepy, stock your home with these must-haves for some relief.

Seasonal allergy symptoms

Bania Calero, M.D., a Piedmont family medicine physician, says seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Postnasal drip

  • Increased throat clearing

  • Sore throat

“Allergies aren’t typically accompanied by fever or chills,” Dr. Calero says. “And we usually see them at specific times of the year.”

However, she says it’s possible to have allergies year-round or to develop them at any time.

Seasonal allergy treatment

Dr. Calero recommends keeping the following supplies on hand during allergy season:

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines: “You can choose a generic or a brand name, like Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec. You usually take these once a day.” If you get drowsy from allergy medications, she recommends taking them before bed.

  • Nasal spray: “If you have allergic rhinitis—inflammation of the nose—you can try an over-the-counter nasal spray along with your antihistamine,” Dr. Calero says. “Patients usually respond well to this combination.” If you don’t want to take an antihistamine, she adds, you can start with nasal spray. It depends on your preferences and what works for you.

  • Nasal saline rinse: Using a nasal saline rinse, such as a neti pot, can help relieve allergy symptoms. Only use sterile or distilled water or boiled and cooled tap water to avoid a potentially serious infection.

Dr. Calero also notes that it’s essential to:

  • Monitor daily pollen counts and limit or avoid time outdoors on high pollen count days.

  • Keep your windows and doors shut when the pollen count is high.

  • Routinely change your home’s air filters.

  • Get an air purifier if possible.

  • Remove your shoes as soon as you get home to avoid tracking pollen and dirt throughout your house.

  • Vacuum and dust regularly.

  • Avoid heavily fragrant cleaning products or personal care products if you’re sensitive to scents.

  • Wash your face each night. If your allergies are severe, consider showering before bed to remove pollen collected on your hair and skin.

When to see a doctor for seasonal allergies

“If you take over-the-counter medications and your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your health care provider,” Dr. Calero says. “After two weeks, the medications should be helping. Left untreated, allergy symptoms can lead to sinus infections because of increased mucus production.”

Your provider may refer you to an allergist for allergy testing, allergy shots or additional treatments.

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