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Ease the Sneeze

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These seven tips will help you combat allergy season.

HealthCheckSneezeMarch2016Seasonal allergies are setting in, and no one wants to spend the springtime having their sinuses ravaged by allergens. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, allergic rhinitis cases have increased significantly over the past 15 years and now affect about 10 to 16 percent of adults in the United States. The reason for the increase is unclear, but you can take certain steps to keep from feeling miserable this allergy season. Here are seven tips to help you manage your allergy symptoms.

1. Be sure your symptoms are actually allergies.
Allergy symptoms often resemble symptoms for a cold or virus, so determine what you actually have. Then you can get the right medication or treatment for both the symptoms and the underlying cause.

2. Find the over-the-counter meds that work best for you.
Everyone’s allergies respond differently to various OTC medications. Experiment with different decongestants, antihistamines, nasal corticosteroid sprays and eyedrops to see if and how they clear up your allergies and how your body responds to any side effects.

3. Change your clothes as soon as you get home.
Allergens get stuck to your clothes throughout the day, so when you get home from being out, put on a fresh set of clothes to prevent allergens from spreading throughout your home.

4. Try salt water for a natural remedy.
Allergy medications can make you drowsy and foggy. For a natural way to clear up your symptoms, use a saline nasal rinse (a spray or a neti pot works) to clear your nasal membranes of allergens once or twice per day. Gargle salt water for sore throat relief.

5. Put off or delegate outside chores.
Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, cleaning the pool, any other outdoor chores — have someone else do them if your allergies are acting up or put them off for another day.

6. Exercise indoors.
You may love your daily run around the neighborhood, but, during allergy season, that run could set you up for a miserable rest of the day. Find alternative indoor exercising options, such as a treadmill or stationary bike at your local gym, or work out to an exercise DVD or video game in your living room.

7. If you must be outside, wear a mask.
It may not be comfortable, but if you have to be outside for a long period of time, wear a pollen mask to keep allergens away from your nose and mouth.

It may be difficult to completely escape your allergies this season, but these tips will help you minimize and manage your symptoms.