Mitigating Allergy Symptoms This Spring
Spring is in the air. Literally. With all of spring’s blossoms comes an additional, less welcome spring arrival—allergies.
For allergy sufferers, spring can be a dreaded time of year. More pollen in the air means a host of unpleasant symptoms including runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and sniffling, all of which can cause higher-than-normal rates of fluid loss. And a common, though less recognized, exacerbating factor is dehydration (more about how that works a bit later).
Now if it feels like allergy season has been getting worse, unfortunately you’re right. According to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health, the impacts of climate change are bringing longer and more severe allergy seasons. Findings indicate that there is more, and more potent, pollen in the air on any given day.
Additionally, shifting climates are expanding where allergy-producing plants grow, so some areas may be getting more allergens than previously.
Bottom line: it is estimated that the 2020 allergy season may be the most intense and longest yet.
Allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when your body’s immune system reacts to an allergen such as pollen, dust, pet dander, etc. Sniffling and sneezing are stimulated as your body produces antibodies and histamine in response to the allergen.
Some studies suggest that dehydration can actually cause you to produce more histamine. This may result in a vicious allergen->histamine->allergy symptoms->dehydration->more histamine cycle. So dehydration, and your allergies, can get worse and worse.
To complicate things further, dehydrated individuals produce fewer allergy-blocking antibodies, according to a 2013 study. With fewer of these antibodies, your body releases even more histamine. Both of these contribute to more frequent and more intense allergy outbursts.
Naturally, many people turn to over-the-counter antihistamines for relief. But they don’t always work, and their use is often accompanied by unwanted side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, and slowed reaction time. Decongestants are another go-to for allergy mitigation, but they can dry you out as well.
Drinking an Oral Rehydration Solution like DripDrop ORS helps the body retain fluids, which can not only help regulate the body’s histamine levels, but also combats the side effects of allergy medications. By getting dehydration relief fast, you can help break the vicious cycle that spurs your body to produce more histamines and all the nasty symptoms they bring. Not to mention that those allergy symptoms, especially during severe bouts, contribute to a greater loss of important electrolytes, which DripDrop ORS replenishes.
What Else Can You Do?
In addition to preventing dehydration, allergy doctors recommend a number of additional steps you can take to reduce the miseries of allergy season:
Time your outings. If possible, plan your outdoor activities when pollen counts are lower. Dawn and dusk tend to be the worst times, so avoid those if possible. And check pollen counts in your area before heading out. Pollen.com has an interactive National Allergy Map that gives you a pollen rating for any area of the U.S.
Use physical barriers. When you go outside, don a hat and sunglasses (the bigger the better) to keep pollen off your face. You can also apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your nostrils to trap the pollen before it makes its way into your nose.
Get out of those clothes. When you get home, take off the clothes you’ve been wearing outside all day so you don’t spread the pollen they’ve collected all over your house.
Take a shower. If you can shower and wash your hair as soon as possible after getting home, that will also reduce shedding that pollen around the home. You especially want to avoid going to bed without showering, as the pollen in your hair can spread onto your pillow giving you a full face of allergens all night long.
Use a saline wash or wipes before bed. Rinsing your eyes and nose with a saline wash or wiping your eyelids with disposable facial wipes can remove even more trapped pollen from those membranes that are prone to getting irritated.
Wash your pets. Pets that go outside, especially dogs with long fur, can track in large quantities of pollen and effectively distribute them throughout your home. Whenever possible, hose down, wipe off, or bathe pets when they come in after playing outside. And wear a mask and gloves while you’re giving Fido that shampoo.
Use a HEPA air purifier. Using an air purifier with a High-Efficiency Particular Absorbing (HEPA) filter can remove as much as 99% of airborne particles like pollen, dander, and other irritants from your environment.
With the above tips in mind and a glass of DripDrop ORS in hand, this spring can be one that offers fewer allergy miseries.