Summer allergies are such a pain and can cause you embarrassment or cause you to miss out on summertime adventures. Luckily there are summer allergy treatment and prevention options available to get your summer back on track.
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How to Prevent Summer Allergies
The best way to prevent summer allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergy trigger, but this is not entirely possible, especially if you love the great outdoors. Here are some great options to consider when dealing with summer allergy symptoms.
Change Filters in Everything That Has A Filter
Filters can be an allergy sufferer’s best friend, but if they haven’t been cleaned or replaced they can turn into our enemy! No matter what you own with a filter, ensure you are maintaining it properly to maximize your allergy relief.
Here are a few examples of where you might have filters hiding around your home.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System
Homes that are equipped with central air have a filter located at the intake of your HVAC system to grab large particles so they don’t blow throughout the house.
Filter companies have high-efficiency filters for your HVAC system, but these filters may hinder heating/cooling performance and cause unnecessary stress on the unit.
Check with the manufacturer’s recommendations, but simply changing the filter may give you relief.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter
A HEPA filter is a great way to not stress out your HVAC system, plus they remove pollen, bacteria, viruses, and spores.
Change your filter per the manufacturer’s recommendations, or sooner if you are experiencing more symptoms than usual.
Cabin Air Filter in Your Vehicle
Most vehicles have a cabin air filter, which filters the air inside your car. This is a quick easy fix to have clean air on the go.
Check the manual of your vehicle to see when it should be replaced, for both of our vehicles it is recommended we change the filter at least every 2 years.
Most vacuum cleaners these days come with HEPA filters. Ensure you are cleaning the pre-filters (foamy ones) often to extend the life of the HEPA filter, and replace the HEPA filter regularly.
Robot vacuums like Roomba’s have air filters as well, don’t forget about maintaining our robot friends too! [spacer height=”30px”]
Consider Getting A HEPA Filter for Your Home
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing particles, including allergens from the air. The EPA further explains that HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.
Pollen grains are 30 microns in size and don’t stand a chance of getting past a HEPA filter.
My family has had great results with using an air purifier to improve our allergy symptoms in our home.
If you are interested in an air purifier, check out these top-rated air purifiers on Amazon.
Download a Pollen Count App
A Pollen count app is designed to let you know the current pollen levels in your local area. Most of the apps also let you know the current weather, air quality, and pollution levels.
Top 5 Pollen Count Apps on Google Play
- Pollen Wise
- Allergy Alert by Pollen.com
- WebMD Allergy
Utilizing a pollen count app will keep you up to date on how much pollen is in the air before you head outside.
Keep Your Windows Closed
Open windows make your home vulnerable to pollen, mold/fungi spores, and insects, all of which affect summer allergies. If you absolutely need to have your windows open, avoid opening bedroom windows to keep allergens out.
Additionally, run your air purifier, and utilize a pollen count app to ensure you are not opening the windows during extremely high pollen counts.
Kick-off Your Shoes
Taking off your shoes when you enter your home will keep dirt and allergens from entering your home and working their way into your carpet and furniture.
Change Your Clothes
Clothing traps allergens like pollen, dander, and mold spores. By changing your clothes when you head indoors, you are preventing the spread of allergens throughout your house.
Shower Away Allergens
Hop in the shower once you know you are going to be in the house for the night. Allergens can get trapped in our hair, and if we don’t rinse it out we are running the risk of “contaminating” our homes.
Clean and Dust Often
Cleaning and dusting often will remove the sneaky summer allergy-causing culprits. If you notice that your symptoms get worse in certain areas of the house, concentrate on cleaning those areas first.
For example, when you are sitting on the couch or going to bed, and your symptoms flare up, start with the bedroom and living room.
Wear a Mask When Outdoors
Masks can be highly effective in keeping allergens out of your nose and lungs. Keeping your respiratory system clean and clear will do wonders for your symptoms.
Try to wear a mask, especially when doing yard work to limit your allergy symptoms.
Create An Allergy-Free Zone
The ultimate goal when preventing summer allergy symptoms is to create an allergy-free zone. Implementing preventive measures in your home to limit the transmission of allergens is your first line of defense.
Summer Allergy Treatment Options
The best treatment is to not need “treatment” at all. This is usually achieved by avoiding what you are allergic to, but this is rarely possible.
So how do we treat allergies in summer?
Natural Treatment Options
You changed the filters, shower at night, and run the HEPA filter, but still have some symptoms flaring up, it might be time to bust out some natural treatment options.
Saline Nasal Spray or Rinse
A saline spray or nasal rinse is essentially saltwater that is the same pH level as your body (so it doesn’t burn) with the intent of flushing out your nasal cavities to remove pollen, dust, spores, etc.
Acupuncture to relieve allergy symptoms, just might work… but this treatment option has mixed reviews. For each reputable study that states acupuncture relieves allergy symptoms, I was able to find other trustworthy studies that state acupuncture “may work” or “is not clinically significant” in providing symptom relief.
If this is something that perks your interest, it might be worth mentioning to your medical provider.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga (algae) that grows in fresh water and might be able to help with your allergy symptoms. The NIH published an article that evaluated spirulina as a treatment in patients with allergic rhinitis.
The study concluded, “Spirulina is clinically effective on allergic rhinitis when compared with placebo. Further studies should be performed in order to clarify the mechanism of this effect.”
Be careful! The NIH also documented a case where a 17-year-old male became anaphylactic after taking a spirulina tablet.
BMJ conducted a study to compare how effective butterbur and cetirizine (Zyrtec®) are in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.
125 patients took part in this study. 61 of the patients took one tablet of butterbur, 4 times a day (yikes), and 64 patients took one tablet of cetirizine a day for two weeks.
The study concluded that both treatment options (Zyrtec vs. butterbur) had similar results in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. The study also stated that medical professionals should consider butterbur if the sedative effects of antihistamines need to be avoided in their patients.
Summer Allergy Medications
Here are a few of the most common allergy medications available for you to discuss with your doctor when treating summer allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines are used to relieve allergy symptoms by attempting to block histamines in your body. Popular examples of over-the-counter antihistamines are Benadryl®, Zyrtec®, and Claritin®.
Most individuals usually go for the Zyrtec or Claritin because you take it once a day, and it does not make you as drowsy as Benadryl.
There are many allergy-specific eyedrops on the market to help with summer allergies, which typically contain antihistamines. The antihistamines limit your eye’s response to pollen and dander, giving you much-needed relief from itchy eyes.
My optometrist prescribed me Pataday® Once Daily Relief Drops, and I have had a great experience with them.
These eye drops are now available over the counter without a prescription!
Nasal Steroid Spray
Nasal steroids work by reducing nasal passage swelling, which can provide allergy symptom relief. The nasal spray might not be for everyone because you shoot a mist up into your nasal cavity.
If you are interested, the most well-known nasal steroid brands include Flonase®, Nasonex®, and Nasacort®.
Additional Treatment Options
Besides natural treatments and medications, there are a couple of additional options to treat your allergies. These treatments are long-term and can take years to relieve your symptoms.
If you are anything like me, you would love to have fewer symptoms and reduce the number of needed medications in the long run.
Here are those options to look into.
Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are a long-term treatment option. The goal of allergy shots is to expose your immune system to allergens in hopes that this exposure will decrease your allergen sensitivity and provide you with symptom relief.
I have been receiving allergy shots every week for about 2 years now, and I have seen improvements! Some individuals do not see results which can be costly and disheartening, as this can be a 3-year process.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment option for allergies where an allergist places a prescribed tablet under your tongue for a minute or two, and then you swallow it. Like allergy shots, this is a long-term treatment option to increase your allergen tolerance.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & immunology, the SLIT process can take 3 to 5 years to develop immunity.
Summer allergies are no fun. I hope you have gained some needed nuggets of information to prevent or treat your summer allergies. It’s time to go discover what works for you!
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