Winter allergy season is in full swing, and for many people, that means they will soon start feeling the effects of allergies and experiencing discomfort. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from winter allergies, you know they can be a real nuisance. If you don’t want it to take over your life, you need to take some steps to reduce your exposure to seasonal allergies.
Here are some tips from our allergy specialists on how to get through the winter allergy season without too much discomfort.
How To Get Through the Winter Allergy Season
- Know your triggers: The first step in managing your allergies is knowing what causes them. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, keep a journal of when and where you have reactions. This can help you identify patterns and figure out what’s causing your symptoms. Fall in Illinois usually means weed pollination, which includes ragweed, pigweed, orache, wormwood, and sagebrush – all of which can cause allergies in some people.
- Avoid your triggers: Once you know what causes your allergies, do your best to avoid those things as much as possible during peak allergy season. This may mean staying inside on days when pollen counts are high or keeping windows closed at home and in the car. It may also mean avoiding certain holiday treats or decorations. Once the weather starts to cool down, keeping the windows shut becomes easier. However, you need to clean the air, since allergens can build up inside, which brings us to the next point.
- Use air filters: Air filters – particularly high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters – can help remove allergens from the air inside your home or office, so they don’t aggravate your symptoms as much when you’re indoors. Be sure to clean or replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Take allergy medication as directed: Over-the-counter antihistamines can be helpful in relieving mild allergy symptoms, however, if symptoms persist, you probably need prescription allergy medication from an allergy doctor. Regardless of the type of medication you take, it is important to be consistent and on time with your medication for the best results.
- Get an annual flu shot: It may seem counter intuitive since influenza is a virus but getting vaccinated against the flu each year reduces overall inflammation throughout your body—and that includes allergic responses.
- Drink lots of fluids: Staying hydrated helps thin mucus secretions, making them less irritating to nasal passages. It also prevents dehydration, which can make respiratory problems worse. May people think dehydration is a problem only for warmer months, but you can suffer from this issue year around – even in the middle of winter.
- Eat healthy foods: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce inflammation in the body, which is always good for allergy sufferers.
- Manage your stress levels: High-stress levels trigger the release of histamines, which can make an allergic reaction worse. Even holiday stress needs to be managed!
- Keep indoor areas clean: Dust mites thrive in curtains, carpets, and bedding, and are major allergens. They’re one of the most common indoor allergens, so it’s important to wash and clean regularly.
- See an allergist: An allergist or immunologist is specially trained to diagnose and treat allergic diseases and can make a big difference in your winter allergies.
Allergy Specialist in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield, IL
The board-certified allergy specialists at Oak Brook Allergists are well-trained and highly experienced in the treatment of all types of allergies, as well as all types of asthma. We use a combination of treatments and personalized recommendations to help change your experience with your allergies during allergy season. Your allergies do not have to take control of your life. Schedule an appointment with us to find out what we recommend. Call our allergy clinic today at (630) 574-0460 or use our convenient online request form.