Most people expect to have itchy eyes and a runny nose during spring and summer, when the flowers bloom and pollen levels reach extraordinary heights. However, the truth is that fall is the true allergy season, when the absolute worst allergens are everywhere in the air.
Unfortunately, because you might not expect your allergies to appear in autumn, there are many ways you could be making your symptoms so much worse. When it comes to allergies, you will likely suffer all season long unless you treat yourself well, so here are the worst mistakes you can make while you endure fall allergies.
Not Medicating Soon Enough
The most common types of allergy medications are anti-histamines, and these meds work best as a preventative measure. Unfortunately, most people only bother with allergy drugs after they have started experiencing symptoms, at which time anti-histamines do little more than put you to sleep. Instead, you should start taking your meds a week or so before allergy season ― or at least in the morning before you encounter any allergens.
Showering in the Morning
You might rely on your morning shower to wake you up, but for the rest of the day, allergens will cling to your hair and skin, aggravating your allergies and worsening your symptoms. After you get home from work or come inside after some time in the yard, you should hop in the shower for a quick rinse, which should prevent those clinging allergens from affecting you all day long.
Wearing the Same Clothes All Day
For the same reason, you should avoid spending too much time in the same clothing. After your rinse, you should pull on some fresh, unworn clothes to avoid once again covering yourself in the day’s allergens.
Washing With Cold Water
Cold water might be more environmentally friendly (and wallet-friendly, considering your energy bill) but warm water is much more effective at cleaning allergens off of skin and clothing. As a minimum, you should clean your bedding in hot water to kill and remove allergens like dust mites and pet dander that accumulate during the week.
Some people can’t sleep without the gentle hum of their humidifiers, but if you also suffer from allergies, it might be best to let your air go dry. Humid air promotes the proliferation of dust mites, which are some of the most pervasive sources of allergies. Fortunately, dust mites hate dry air, so you might find relief by dehumidifying for a while.
Stress does terrible things to your body in general, but specifically, stress can seriously aggravate your allergies. One study found that stress increases the production of certain blood proteins that cause allergic reactions, meaning you have a higher chance of developing allergy symptoms when you’re anxious. When you start to feel overwhelmed, you should take a break to relax, or else you’ll have one more problem to stress out about.
Drinking and Smoking
Though cigarettes might have been touted as an allergy cure a century ago, by now you should know better. Tobacco exacerbates nearly every health issue, from your nail color to your lung strength, and quitting will definitely improve how you feel during allergy season. At the very least, you can find relief by using e-cigs or vaporizers, which are seen as alternatives to tobacco products.
Meanwhile, recent studies on alcohol might suggest that a glass of wine or a pint of beer is good for you, but allergists argue otherwise. Despite potential boons alcohol provides for cardiovascular health, most boozy drinks feed bacteria that produce histamines, and when those enter your body, it responds with obnoxious symptoms like itchy eyes and a runny nose.
Any harsh smell can irritate the nasal airways and cause symptoms similar to allergies, but specific chemicals in perfume are actually known to cause allergic reactions. If you are experiencing a runny nose and cough as well as a bright-red rash, you might want to lay off the smelly stuff for a while.
Buying the Wrong Produce
Even if you aren’t allergic to fruits and vegetables, bringing them into your home might be triggering an allergic reaction. Researchers have found that sufferers of grass allergies tend to develop symptoms when around tomatoes, peaches, and potatoes; likewise, those who can’t stand alder trees often react to the presence of cherries, celery, and apples. You should pay attention to what produce you have when you develop symptoms in case there is a connection.
Forgetting to Medicate Overnight
More and more allergy medications are long-lasting, providing 24-hours of relief, but if you prefer a med that is stronger for a shorter period of time, you cannot forget to take a nightly dose. Your body is just as susceptible to allergic reactions while you sleep, so you must arm it with the right drugs before you start to doze.