Right now, there is a yellow haze covering the state of North Carolina. Noses are running, eyes are watering, and there are sneezes galore. Welcome to allergy season. Five North Carolina cities made the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s list of the worst 100 U.S. cities for allergy sufferers (1).
If you’re feeling the effects of seasonal allergies, there are some things you can do in order to keep breathing clearly.
- Try to avoid tracking pollen into your home. This includes taking off your shoes when you come inside and wiping down pets when they come in.
- Dust and vacuum your home. Though the cleaning may stir up dust and make allergies worse in the short term, getting rid of allergens in your home can make a big difference overall.
- Netti pots are something else you can try if you’re not wanting to take medication. These allow you to flush your nasal passages with saline in order to wash the allergens out.
- Try an antihistamine. There are many over the counter antihistamines that can help decrease allergy symptoms. Common non-drowsy options include loratadine and fexofenadine. Diphenhydramine is another option, but it does make most people sleepy. Cetirizine is one other over the counter antihistamine that make some people sleepy.
- Some people also benefit from an over the counter nasal steroid like fluticasone. It often takes 2-3 days of use before you see benefits, so it may not help much in the short term. However, it can decrease overall nasal allergy symptoms.
As always, be sure to read the directions on over the counter medications, and check with your doctor if you have any other medical conditions before you try any new medicine.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Spring Allergy Capitals 2016. Asthma and Allergy Foundation. [Online] 2016. http://www.aafa.org/media/Spring-Allergy-Capitals-2016-Rankings.pdf.
Crystal Bentley is a registered nurse with 2 years of dedicated allergy experience.