As days grow shorter and temperatures drop, we also spend more time indoors with the windows closed, exposing ourselves to more indoor allergens. However, even if you have severe fall allergies, you can usually manage your symptoms and get back to enjoying your life — both inside and outside. These seasonal allergy management tips can help:
- Buy a dehumidifier. You may have heard that humidifiers can help with breathing, but dehumidifiers may actually be better if you are sensitive to dust or mold. Dust mites and molds flourish in a humid environment. Use a dehumidifier to help reduce your indoor allergy symptoms.
- Stay clean. One of the best ways to minimize your allergen exposure is to wash pollens off your skin and your hair as soon as possible after spending time outside. You should also change shoes before entering the house and change clothes inside the front doorway to reduce the amount of pollen and other allergens you may be bringing into the house. Also avoid hanging clothes outside to dry.
- Check pollen levels. If your area is designated a high pollen zone, it’s best to avoid going outdoors. Keep your activities inside for a few days instead, if possible, to minimize your exposure to allergens during those days.
- Use an air conditioner at night. It’s tempting to save some money and open the windows for some cool, fresh air, but, close the windows and keep the air conditioning on. It’s where you spend eight or more hours each night, so it’s critical to keep your bedroom clean and pollen-free to avoid allergies. Consider installing a HEPA filter system, especially during high season, so that you’re breathing in better purified air while you sleep. Change air conditioner filters monthly, using hypoallergenic, HEPA filters.
- Take an OTC antihistamine. Many over-the-counter allergy drugs are now non-drowsy, long-lasting, and effective. For best results, start using an antihistamine two to three weeks before the first day of the season and continue treatment for the first month of the season.
- See a doctor if needed. A proper allergy test ordered by your primary care physician or allergist will help identify the cause of your suffering and determine the right treatment to stop it. Anyone with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day, and sleep well at night.
- If you are unsure whether you are suffering from allergies versus a cold, or your allergies may have turned into an infection, your nearest St. Luke’s Care Now center may be able to help.