Ways to Cope with Allergies

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a certain substance as harmful. It reacts by causing an allergic reaction. Allergies are a common cause of illness and can occur at any stage in someone’s life. Allergens come in different forms, such as pollen, foods, mites, medications, insects, latex and chemical substances. When allergies happen, there are some things you can do to cope with them.

Determine If It’s Really Allergies

The sudden swing from cool to warm weather can make it hard to tell an allergic reaction from a cold or virus. Therefore, it’s important to know the difference between allergy and cold. Allergies typically begin in association with exposure to an identifiable environmental trigger. In the spring, that trigger is typically grass or tree pollen, and in the autumn the trigger is weed pollen or mold. Colds, in contrast, are caught from someone else as an invisible virus is passed person-to-person and usually hand to mouth. Allergy symptoms continue for a longer period of time than cold symptoms. Allergies last months during which pollen rains down on us versus a week of cold symptoms while your body’s immune system eradicates the cold virus. Environmental allergy symptoms, except those associated with a severe allergy to a food like peanuts or to medications such as or sulfa drugs, tend to be milder than those due to infection. Finally, allergies rarely have associated bodily symptoms such as fever and body ache, while those are hallmarks of colds.

Avoid Allergy Triggers

Triggers, or allergens, can vary from person to person. It may be insect stings or bites, certain foods, drugs, pollen, to name a few. It may sound obvious, but the best way to treat and prevent allergic reactions is to know what triggers your allergic reaction and stay away from it, especially food allergens.

Change Living Habits

One thing to do is kick off your shoes and work clothes as soon as you get back home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to cause your symptoms to act up. Remove your shoes outside the door and throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else. Shower at night to wash off any lingering pollen from your body and hair before you get into bed. If you have a dog or outdoor cat, wipe their paws and fur when they enter your home too, since pollen can cling to them. You may also consider taking your workout indoors to avoid pollen and other allergens in the air. When outdoor chores are inevitable, a surgical mask can help minimize exposure to pollen particles. Another tip is to get window savvy. That means if you’re allergic to pollen, keep your windows closed and run an air conditioner. On the contrary, if you’re allergic to indoor allergies like mold and dust, throw the windows open and let in the fresh air. These changes to your living habits may help prevent or provide relief for allergies.

Take OTC Medications

Antihistamines can help to treat most minor allergic reactions regardless of the cause. These drugs reduce the body’s production of histamine, which reduces all symptoms, including sneezing, watering eyes, and skin reactions. Antihistamines come in several forms, usually to help deliver the medication closer to the source of the reaction or make it easier to consume, such as oral pills, dissolvable tablets, nasal sprays, liquids and eye drops. Antihistamines can also be taken to prevent allergies. When your go-to meds may not work as well this year if your symptoms are worse, you may need to experiment with other kinds, or use multiple drugs. A person who is pregnant or has a liver disorder should consult their doctor before taking antihistamines.

Posted on May 18, 2023