Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition that shows signs and symptoms similar to a cold with sneezing, congestion, runny nose and sinus pressures.
1. Reduce your stress
Try to reduce your stress levels. The survey showed a clear link between stress and the severity of hay fever symptoms. Almost seven out of 10 stressed-out hay fever sufferers rate their symptoms as unbearable or debilitating. As stress levels drop, symptoms become milder. For more information, read about stress management.
2. Pinpoint Your Allergy.
The first step in controlling hay fever is to find out what you are allergic to. Maybe you know, from years of hay fever symptoms, that it’s tree or grass pollen in the spring, or ragweed in the fall. If you aren’t sure, see your physician to help diagnose your allergy.
3. If You Do Go Outdoors, Shower After.
If you have hay fever triggered by outdoor allergens, it’s important to shower and wash your hair after spending time outside when the pollen count is high—especially before going to bed. Showering helps remove pollen from your skin and hair and can help prevent a nighttime allergy attack.
4. Take Steps to “Allergy-Proof” Your Home.
There are many ways to limit allergens inside the house. Keep windows closed when pollen/mold counts are high. Prevent mold in the kitchen, bathrooms and household plants. Remove some or all carpets and unnecessary furnishings like throw pillows. Use synthetic pillows and encase mattresses in allergy-free covers. Wash clothing often. Keep pets out of bedrooms.
5. Exercise more
Regular exercise can improve your hay fever. The survey found that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
6. Eat well
The survey suggests that people with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Eat a varied, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, but be aware than some healthy foods can make hay fever symptoms worse. Foods that can worsen hay fever symptoms for some people include apples, tomatoes, stoned fruits, melons, bananas and celery.
7. Cut down on alcohol
Watch how much you drink at your summer picnics and BBQs! Alcohol worsens hay fever. Beer, wine and spirits contain histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in your body. As well as making you more sensitive to pollen, alcohol also dehydrates you, making your symptoms seem worse.
8. Sleep well
Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. The survey found that people with hay fever who get a good night’s sleep tend to have the mildest symptoms. Just one in eight (13%) people who had at least seven hours sleep a night reported severe symptoms, compared with one in five (21%) who regularly had five hours sleep or less a night.
9. Ask Your Doctor about Medications to Treat Hay Fever.
If it’s not possible to avoid your allergy triggers, over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications may be helpful. Available options include nasal sprays, oral medicines—liquids, tablets—and eye drops. Read labels carefully and take all medication as directed.