Ever wake up with a dry throat and a runny nose though you’ve been feeling good for days with no signs of a cold? Chances are you’ve got a bit of a case of hay fever. Hay fever, usually at its worst during the spring and summer months when allergen levels in the air are high, is not caused by a virus nor is it contagious. Hay fever is instead caused by high levels of allergens and fine particles in the air – this can come on the form of pollen, mold, pet dander, dust, and other environmental triggers such as smog and car pollution.
Though there is no “cure” for hay fever, you can reduce your risk of getting it, and make the annoying symptoms subside, in a number of ways.
It may be useful to get an allergy test done regardless if you struggle with hay fever often or not. Knowing what you’re allergic to, if anything, can help you prevent hay fever in the future and more serious reactions.
1. Watch for pollen levels.
On your local weather station, either online or on the television, there will likely be an indicator of the pollen levels as well as the air quality. Monitoring these things are both important if you get hay fever easily – pollen is well known for making sinus irritation worse, and the overall air quality will impact your hay fever symptoms if you already have it, and may make you come down with it of you don’t.
2. Wear a respirator mask.
When you are doing yard work, such as cutting grass, weeding, or pruning your garden, it helps to wear a respirator mask to filter out any irritating particles you may ingest. Grass is a major irritant for many people, because when you cut it with a mower it releases many particles into the air.
Alternately, you can wear a handkerchief over your face – this will not work as well in filtering the air, but is generally more comfortable and less clunky on your face.
3. Get an allergy test.
If you haven’t done so, and you experience hay fever more often than you think you should, there’s a good chance you may be allergic to something.
Visit your doctor about getting a scratch test – a scratch test is when small amounts of possible allergens into the skin. If you get an immediate reaction, then you are allergic to that substance. Knowing what you are allergic to, if anything, will help you avoid it and perhaps get some medication if it is out of hand.
4. Rinse your sinuses.
A neti pot or saline flush is useful to cleaning out your sinuses. A saline flush is a liquid that you squirt up your nostril – it goes out the other nostril and will clean out your nasal passages. This is easier than using a neti pot – though a neti pot is the same idea, you need to make your own saline solution to use it. However, if you’d like to make your own, here are the steps required:
Mix three teaspoons of iodine free salt and one table of baking soda. Add this mixture to one cup of lukewarm distilled water or bottled water. Finally, hold your head to the side, and pour the solution into your nostril through the spout of the neti pot.
Note – if you make this mixture, do not use tap water unless it has been boiled. The tap water may contain fine material that could irritate your sinuses even further.
Overall, getting a pre-made saline solution is easier because you can take it with you if need be. If you’ll be going camping, playing sports, or doing other outdoor activities, you may want to keep one handy.
5. Get mite-proof bed covers.
There’s a good chance that the source of your hay fever is in your bed, especially if you find yourself walking up with the symptoms often. If this is the case, you may want to purchase some mite-proof bed sheets for yourself, and be sure to clean your sheets and pillowcases often in hot water. Not only will this cut down on dust mites, but it will also get rid of other allergen transference from pets and outdoor allergens on your clothes.
6. Watch for mold.
If there is mold of any kind around your house, you should eliminate it as quickly as you see it. Mold releases spores that irritate your sinuses and throat, contributing to your hay fever symptoms. Some molds, like black mold, release spores that can prove to be toxic, so these kinds of molds need to be eliminated regardless, or you could run the risk of developing more serious respiratory problems.
Most molds found in kitchens and bathrooms can be cleaned out with a mixture of a half cup of bleach with a gallon of water.
7. Keep humidity levels low.
Humidity breeds mold, so you will want to make sure that the humidity level in your home, especially in your bedroom, is around 30%-50%. You can do this by using a dehumidifier, or monitoring your air conditioner. The low humidity levels will help your sinuses flow better, prevent mold, and make your room more comfortable all around.
8. Use antihistamines or other medications.
Speak to your doctor about medications for your allergies, if you have any or think you might. This should be done more for chronic allergy issues, but hay fever might play a part in that, so consult your doctor about treatments that would be ideal for you, and any possible side effects.
Hay fever can ruin a lovely summer day with no notice, or even from the start right when you wake up. It’s frustrating, but by using these tips, it doesn’t need to ruin your day. There’s no serious medical condition connected with hay fever and there is no cure, so the best you can do, really is avoid it altogether and use any one of these tips and tricks to get rid of it.