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    Pollen Allergies Treating Symptoms & Finding Relief

    Mar 8, 2024 6 Minute Read

    Learn how pollen allergy medicine, immunotherapy and lifestyle changes can treat the symptoms of stubborn pollen allergies and offer much-needed relief.

    Pollen allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, affect millions of people worldwide. This article will explore the symptoms of pollen allergies and offer effective relief strategies for individuals suffering from this common allergic condition.


    Pollen allergies can significantly impact a person's quality of life, but various relief strategies are available to manage symptoms effectively. By understanding the symptoms and triggers of pollen allergies and implementing appropriate avoidance measures and medications, individuals can find relief and lead a more comfortable, allergy-free life.


    Feeling sneezy, runny and itchy? It might be pollen allergies, which are incredibly common but can make you feel pretty miserable if they're not managed properly. Those tiny, powdery particles made by plants are pollen. If you're allergic to it, pollen can trigger hay fever, or what doctors call allergic rhinitis. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are similar to those caused by the common cold, but pollen allergies might also make your nose, skin or eyes feel itchy. You might also have watery eyes, headaches, a cough or develop dark circles under your eyes.


    According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pollen is mostly produced by trees, grasses and weeds, and it's possible to be allergic to just one or several types. Symptoms flare when pollen you're allergic to is prevalent in the air. This could happen in the spring or fall, but it depends on your allergies and where you live.


    The best way to figure out if you truly have allergies — and get the right help — is to see an allergist for testing and then work together to develop a treatment plan. Read on for some remedies they may suggest.


    Limit Your Exposure

    Taking steps to reduce your exposure to pollen is a smart way to get relief. Allergists frequently recommend staying indoors as much as possible on high pollen days. Check the pollen forecast for your area at pollen.com.


    For indoor air to remain as comfortable as possible, keep windows closed and run air conditioners as needed. Consider investing in an air purifier, especially for your bedroom. Choose one with a HEPA filter that's the right size for the room you plan to use it in.


    To minimize tracking pollen inside your home, be sure to remove shoes and coats near your door. Taking a shower once you're inside for the day or right before bedtime will also help by washing away pollen from your skin and hair.


    Try Nasal Rinses

    One easy, drug-free way to reduce allergies is to flush out your nasal passages with a saline nasal rinse and irrigation device. You can buy a kit that includes premade saline packets, or fill your device with a homemade mixture of iodine-free salt and baking soda.


    Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the device and remember to let it dry completely after use. Do not share irrigation devices with anyone to avoid spreading germs.


    Reach for OTC Options

    Many medications that combat pollen-related allergies were once prescription-only, but are now available over the counter (OTC). Allergists most often recommend non-sedating antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), which you can take when symptoms are flaring or when you know that pollen counts are high. Antihistamines come in pill, liquid or nasal spray form.


    Allergists also frequently recommend nasal corticosteroids, like fluticasone (Flonase) and triamcinolone (Nasacort). These sprays tend to work best when taken daily and begun at least one to two weeks before pollen allergies are expected to be high in your area. That gives the medication time to start working and prevents the body from releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause symptoms, though some people do benefit from short-term use. Fluticasone typically starts working within 12 hours of use and triamcinolone usually starts working within two to three days.


    Ask About Stronger Pollen Allergy Medicine

    If OTC antihistamines and nasal steroids aren't cutting it, ask your allergist if a different type of allergy medication, like a decongestant, might be necessary. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend taking an OTC decongestant for a short period, or they might offer a prescription antihistamine or nasal steroid.


    Consider Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

    If your allergies aren't well-controlled by medication, your allergist might recommend allergy shots. Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy. They contain a small amount of the specific allergen(s) that trigger your symptoms, and they work similarly to a vaccine: By exposing your body to tiny amounts of allergens, you eventually get used to them and won't react to as many symptoms.


    Allergy shots are very effective, but they don't work right away. Most people who receive them require shots one to three times per week for up to six months, per the Mayo Clinic. Beyond that, they'll continue getting shots monthly for several years. It could take a year or more of treatment to feel better.




    Leading an Allergy-Free Life

    Pollen allergies can make you feel lousy, but there's no need to suffer. Making simple lifestyle changes, taking medication and perhaps starting allergy shots can add up to some much-needed relief. This way, you and your family can enjoy the great outdoors — without a packet of tissues.


    These articles are intended for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in these articles. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.