This article pairs well with Allegra and a tissue box
Written by Andrea Brazis
It’s finally springtime! Your seasonal depression is gone and you’re busting out the jean shorts and flip-flops, ready to conquer the upcoming season. You’ve got on your Sunday best and are about to leave for brunch, but as soon as you open your front door, a brisk spring breeze hits your face, and suddenly you’re sneezing and coughing. What. Is. Happening.
Seasonal allergies typically begin in March and run through the first frost, usually sometime in late September. Truly, I think that seasonal allergies are the worst things to ever exist. They can disrupt your whole day, your whole week, even whole seasons of your life, especially summertime. It’s like having a cold, but with no clear start or end date. According to the CDC, approximately 60 million people around the world suffer from seasonal allergies each year. Recently, seasonal allergies have become more severe, impacting individuals much earlier in the year with a more aggressive gusto.
“The strong link between warmer weather and pollen seasons provides a crystal-clear example of how climate change is already affecting peoples’ health across the U.S.,” said William Anderegg, a contributor of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Pollen, the dustlike grains produced by various plants, contains elements for reproduction. As global temperatures continually rise, plant growth will increase as well, creating larger plants that are producing a greater amount of pollen.
“Carbon dioxide, meanwhile, fuels photosynthesis, so plants may grow larger and produce more pollen,” said Yingxiao Zhang and Allison Steiner, contributors to The Atlantic.
It’s also predicted that pollen production will begin to overlap, creating more hostile allergens.
There are three main types of pollen that affect people yearly: tree pollen in the spring (March-May), grass pollen in the summer (June-July/August) and ragweed in the late summer/fall (August-early October). Allergy symptoms are wide-ranging from mild to moderate fatigue, sneezing, congestion, coughing and post-nasal drip. The symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold.
Severe cases of allergy symptoms may actually result in a temporary sinus infection. The amount of sinus infections each year has significantly increased over the decades, spreading across grades schools and college campuses, as well as public spaces such as libraries and grocery stores. Sinus infections can be treated with a variety of prescribed and over-the-counter medications, which are usually taken for 10-14 days before the user’s symptoms are almost completely gone.
Here are a few home remedies and recommended over-the-counter medications, courtesy of me, a fellow “allergy victim”:
Allergy shots: If you truly want to get rid of most or all of your allergy symptoms — for good — shots are about the only way to go. Usually, these shots are completed in multiple sessions by injecting a little bit of pollen into your system each time, building up an immunity in your body. No one likes needles, but trust me when I say the temporary pain in exchange for a lifetime of happiness will be so worth it.
Benadryl: Good ole reliable.
Claritin: Yes, we all use it. While I’m not the biggest fan of artificial antihistamines, Claritin has been one of the few to actually relieve my symptoms. I would also recommend purchasing the non-drowsy version of these medications.
Dehumidifier: This is a popular choice among allergy victims, specifically individuals who suffer from mold and mildew allergies, as dehumidifiers can help dry the air.
Flonase: This product was recommended to me a year ago by the Cleveland State nurses, shortly after I got my seasonal sinus infection. Flonase is a nasal spray that helps relieve symptoms of rhinitis, including watery eyes and runny, stuffy or itchy nose. This has been a lifesaver and it lasts a few months if used properly.
Humidifier: I cannot recommend this enough. Although they’re typically used for “household allergies,” humidifiers can also be used to assist with cold/flu symptoms and, you know, seasonal allergy symptoms. Humidifiers can assist with post nasal drip and other symptoms, often related to sinuses, by clearing the air and adding moisture. They may also be the superior choice in comparison to purchasing a dehumidifier.
Rinse your sinuses: We’ve all seen those videos on TikTok of people rinsing out their sinuses, causing a disgusting (yet oddly satisfying) amount of fluid to come out. These people are now smelling color and you can too!
Vitamins: Eating more vitamins like A, B, C, D and E can significantly benefit your immune system by bringing good stuff in and pushing bad stuff out. The stronger your immune system is, the lighter your allergy symptoms will be. You’ll also be less likely to contract the flu, COVID-19 or other illnesses — and if you do, the symptoms will be more manageable.
Here are some more preventative measures, if you don’t want to “take” anything:
Monitor the pollen count frequently and consider staying inside on days labeled as “high pollen level.”
Avoid mowing and trimming the lawn on dry, windy days. If you have to, consider wearing a mask.
Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower before sitting or laying down. Showering will help remove pollen particles attached to your hair and skin.
Wash your bedding at least once a week with HOT water to remove attached allergens.
Keep the air inside your house clean. Run the AC, wipe off countertops frequently and vacuum.
Begin taking your allergy medications a month or so before “regular allergy season,” probably towards the end of February or beginning of March. This will help prep your body for the upcoming season.
What now? Grab a pack of Claritin and a fresh box of tissues, then go conquer those allergies!