Spring is here and so is your hay fever. It doesn’t matter how little time you spend outdoors; pollen can still find its way into your home and be an absolute nuisance. Luckily, there are a few things you can try to minimize its effects.
What Is Hay Fever?
Medically known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is a type of inflammation that occurs when your immune system reacts to certain allergens in the air, like pollen or dust mites. Pollen is a plant particulate released into the air every year around springtime when tree pollination begins.
This allergen can enter your system through your nose, mouth, and eyes and cause cold-like symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Red/itchy/watery eyes
- Itchy throat/nose/roof of the mouth
There are several telltale signs that distinguish a cold from hay fever. If you’re experiencing a fever, body aches, and you have a runny nose with a yellowish discharge, this is likely a cold. If your nasal discharge is watery, you don’t have a fever, and the symptoms last longer than a week, it’s probably hay fever.
In some cases, this type of allergy can last for months, in which case, it’s best to consult with a board-certified allergist. While antihistamines can soothe the symptoms, minimizing your exposure to allergens is the first course of action you should take. This will lower your risk of experiencing allergic reactions.
Tips to Manage Your Hay Fever at Home
If seasonal allergies are causing you discomfort, even while you’re stuck indoors, there are a few adjustments you can make to your environment to ease your symptoms. We’ve listed some of the most beneficial suggestions below.
Keep Your Windows (Mostly) Closed
Having even one window open throughout the day will let pollen sneak into the house and attack your immune system. While it’s important to let in some fresh air daily, consider keeping windows closed most of the time. You can open one early in the day, but only when it’s not windy, and you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Clean Your House Regularly
Vacuuming, doing laundry, and dusting can help get rid of any pollen that might have gotten in through a window. It also prevents dust from settling on the floor and various furniture.
Use the hottest setting on the washing machine to get rid of all the dust mites in your bed linen and towels. This way, they can’t attach to you when you dry off or while you’re asleep. Consider investing in a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum, as their filter is capable of trapping 99.97 percent of dust particles and allergens, like pollen.
If you have pets, their hair can trigger allergic reactions, as well. They can also bring in pollen from outside. Try to clean up after them regularly and keep them off your bed and other furniture as much as possible.
Consider Using (or Changing) an Air Filter
The American Lung Association recommends air filtration for individuals with asthma and allergies. There are different types, including mechanical (HEPA), electronic, hybrid, and gas-phase filters, and ozone generators. Their levels of efficiency and price vary, so you can decide which one suits you best. If it’s within your budget, HEPA filters are generally recommended.
If your home has central air conditioning, you can also install a whole-house filtration system that will save space and make less noise.
Wash Your Clothes Regularly
Pollen and dust can attach very easily to your clothes. You could step outside for just a couple of minutes, and that’s enough for allergen particles to stick to you. Changing clothes as soon as you get home, and washing them regularly, can help curb allergic reactions.
Wash Your Face Often
Whenever you experience incessant eye itching, try washing your face. This will help eliminate any unwanted particles that might have found their way into your eyes. It can also prevent you from pondering the idea of scratching them with sandpaper.
You can also try using a saltwater solution to clear your nasal passages of any allergens if you have a bad case of a runny nose.
If there’s one thing the coronavirus has taught us, it’s that we all touch our faces excessively throughout the day. This is especially true when dealing with the typical symptoms of hay fever.
Clean hands minimize your chances of being exposed to a variety of ailments and nasties, including viruses, bacteria, dirt, and allergens. Wash them frequently and (try to) keep the face-touching and rubbing to a minimum.
Avoid Indoor Smoking
Smoke is an environmental trigger that can irritate your airways and render you more susceptible to allergic reactions. If possible, ask anyone in the house to smoke outside, and close the windows and doors when they do.
These tips should help you get some much-needed relief from all the frustrating symptoms of hay fever while staying inside.