According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, about 8% of Americans are affected by seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.
Seasonal allergies can make you miserable. Here are 13 of the fastest ways to get allergy relief.
13 quick fixes for seasonal allergies
1. Use a nasal rinse
Nasal irrigation washes out mucus and allergens and can provide temporary relief from seasonal allergies. You can use a neti pot or buy a nasal rinse kit.
To prepare the rinse, mix 1 teaspoon of iodide-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Store this mixture in an airtight container. Whenever you want to use it, put 1 teaspoon of the mixture into 8 ounces of distilled or boiled water. After the water has cooled, lean over a sink and gently flush one nostril at a time with the solution.
2. Inhale steam
Steam inhalation can loosen mucus and help you breathe more easily. You can inhale the steam by holding your head over a warm bowl and placing a towel over your head to trap the steam. Alternatively, you can run a hot shower and sit in the bathroom while inhaling the steam.
3. Drink more fluids
Staying hydrated with water, juice, tea, or other nonalcoholic drinks, can thin the mucus in your nasal passages and offer you some relief. Warm fluids, such as soups or broths, may have the added benefit of providing you with steam inhalation.
4. Use over-the-counter medications
- Oral antihistamines
- Decongestants (avoid taking them for more than 3-4 days unless advised by your doctor)
- Nasal sprays
- Cromolyn sodium nasal spray
- Saline nasal spray
- Combination medications
5. Allergy shots
If over-the-counter remedies fail to relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms, you may want to ask your doctor for allergy shots or allergy immunotherapy, which has the potential to treat allergic rhinitis.
6. Avoid triggers
Reduce your exposure to the things that trigger your allergy symptoms:
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days
- Avoid lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other gardening chores
- Wear a pollen mask or N95 mask outside
- After coming indoors, remove your clothes and take a shower
7. Check when pollen counts are high
Check your local news or the Internet to monitor pollen levels in the air. Minimize your risk by:
- Keeping your doors and windows closed at night
- Avoiding venturing outside in the early morning
- Taking allergy medications before your symptoms start
8. Keep indoor air clean
While there is no simple way get rid of all allergens from the air in your home, the following steps may keep your indoor air clean:
- Use air conditioning
- Get your air conditioning and heating serviced and maintained regularly
- Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom
- Vacuum floors often
9. Avoid cigarette smoke
Cigarette smoke can worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms. When outdoors, avoid smoke and stay away from other fumes such as smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and aerosol sprays.
10. Use natural cleaning products
Harsh chemicals used in some cleaning products can irritate your nasal passages and aggravate your allergy symptoms. Make your own natural cleaning products with ingredients such as vinegar or baking soda. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which traps allergens.
11. Eat healthy
Although it is unclear exactly how diet affects seasonal allergies, studies have shown that children who eat a diet high in fresh vegetables (especially grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes) experience fewer allergy symptoms.
12. Consider acupuncture
Some studies have suggested that acupuncture can help reduce allergy flare-ups. Ask your doctor about whether acupuncture is right for you.
13. Visit an allergy specialist
If you have not been able to identify what triggers your allergy symptoms, visit an allergist who can help you identify your triggers and suggest ways to avoid them.