Does your head feel like it’s stuffed with old socks? Do you feel like you can’t stop itching your eyes and is your nose running like a leaky tap? Don’t worry you’re not alone. You are probably one of the 20 million Americans who suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. So what could have set off this allergic reaction? More importantly, how can allergies be prevented or controlled?
The bad news is that for many people allergy season lasts all year round. But wait! The good news is that a combination of preventive medicines, avoidance of allergens and allergy shots or vaccines can minimize the discomfort from the symptoms of allergies.
The first step is to minimize exposure to the allergens that trigger off your allergies. These maybe pollen, mold, animal dander. Complete avoidance, although the best treatment, is an extreme solution and can be quite difficult to achieve as it may offer only temporary relief. A person may be sensitive to one allergen but over time may become sensitive to more such irritants. So the next best thing to do would be to avoid places where you know that allergen is present. For e.g. if you’re allergic to dogs, stay away from homes with dogs. Reduce exposure to mold allergens by making sure your garden is mowed and raked, your bathrooms and basements are as dry as possible (you could use a dehumidifier), and control the moisture levels in the house through central air-conditioning. Of course keeping your house clean will prevent dust mites, pollen, animal dander and insects from bothering your allergy prone system. You could try using an air-purifier to cleanse the air of these contagions. Make your home a no smoking zone. Avoid using hairsprays and rooms fresheners as even strong fragrances can set off an attack.
Your doctor may advise you to take an antihistamine. An antihistamine, like the name suggests is able to counter the effect of histamine, the chemical that is released by the body and causes the allergy symptoms. These drugs have had proven success in alleviating the common symptoms of an allergic reaction. You may be given an over the counter or a prescription decongestant like a nasal spray or drops. These will ease congestion, swelling, excessive secretions of the nose and sinus. Alternatively your doctor may recommend prescription anti-inflammatory steroid drugs if you have severe symptoms.