October 1, 2018
Chances are you already know if you are one of the roughly 8 percent of Americans1 who suffer from seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever.
Allergies develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment. These triggers typically cause no problems in other people, which is why we label it as an allergy.
While it’s common for allergies to emerge in childhood or young adulthood, people can develop allergies at any age. Allergies can also be genetic. The predisposition to develop an allergy is always present in those who come from allergy-prone families, but what brings it out at a certain age or stage of life isn’t yet understood.2
Different allergens can strike at different times of the year. Fall and spring often bring the worst irritation to allergy sufferers as the most common environmental allergens like ragweed, trees, and grasses begin to bloom.
Here are several things you can do to minimize how seasonal allergies affect you:
Know Your Triggers Before They Strike
Most allergists offer routine testing to help you determine what might be setting off your sniffles, and will help you create a plan of action to manage your symptoms before they start.
Shut Your Windows
While allergens have a way of working their way into our homes, keeping your windows and doors shut during allergy season can limit your extended exposure to irritants.
Avoid Outdoor Chores
Lucky you! Delegate lawn mowing and other outdoor tasks to another member of the family, or wear an allergy-approved mask.2
Control the Air
Run air conditioning with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and keep humidity below 55 percent to reduce dust and dust mites.3 Dust mites do not drink water, but instead absorb moisture from the air. In areas with low humidity, dust mites cannot survive, so lowering the humidity in your home can keep dust mites from continuing to be an irritant.4
Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after being outside to limit your continued exposure to outdoor allergens that might still be in your hair or clinging to your clothes.
Eliminate Allergen Safe Harbors
Replace carpet in your home with non-toxic hardwood floors, cover pillows with allergy-approved cases, and reduce dust-collecting clutter.
Treat Your Symptoms
There are many medications available over-the-counter and via prescription that treat allergy symptoms in different ways. Stubborn allergies may even require seeing an allergy specialist. Your MedExpress provider can perform a history and physical exam to help formulate a plan to get your symptoms under control.
Most importantly, take action. Chances are, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, there is a way to make that eye-watering, nose-running time of year a healthier season for you.
1 AAAAI: Allergy Statistics. Accessed September 24, 2018.
2 ACAAI: Allergies - Symptoms and Treatment. Last updated 2014. Accessed September 24, 2018.
3 Mayo Clinic: Seasonal allergies - Nip them in the bud. Last updated May 12, 2018. Accessed September 24, 2018.
4 American Lung Association: Dust Mites. Last updated December 8, 2017. Accessed September 24, 2018.