While we couldn't be more thrilled about the arrival of spring, we can't say the same for our sinuses. If you also suffer from sniffles and sneezes due to an uptick in pollen count, you're probably wondering how to make it stop. In an effort to thwart annoying allergy symptoms, we reached out to Dr. Mia Finkelston, a board-certified family physician who treats patients via telehealth app, LiveHealth Online for some helpful tips on how to control allergies.
April marks the start of allergy season, aka the time of year when your nose won't stop running, eyes won't stop itching, and the sneezing is excessive. To help get you through the month, Finkelston has given us some inside tips on how to alleviate stubborn allergy symptoms. From using cucumber eye masks to enjoying a warm shower, there are plenty of ways in which we can keep our allergies in check. For a doctor's suggestions on how to control allergies, keep on reading.
Take Medicine Before Symptoms Start
If you have a history of allergies come springtime, Finkelston says to start your prescription medication or over-the-counter antihistamine one to two weeks before allergy season starts, as this will attenuate your reactions. She advises meeting with your doctor before allergy season to figure out which antihistamine or nasal steroid will work best for you. However, if your symptoms are on the milder side, Finkelston says there are a variety of over-the-counter medications to choose from like Zyrtec.
Use a Nasal Spray
An all-to-common allergy symptom is a nasal drip. If you are plagued by a runny nose, Finkelston says to invest in a good nasal spray, which can dry nostril passages, help restore moisture, and cleanse your nasal passages of bacteria. She recommends nasal steroids and saline solutions, both of which can be bought over the counter.
Enjoy a Warm Shower
While it's not a cure for allergies, a warm shower can help clear stuffy sinuses and provide some temporary symptom relief, according to Finkelston. Not only will a shower "help open everything up," but she also says that it will help relax you, which is essential if you've been fighting frustrating allergies all day.
Don't Use OTC Eye Drops
If you have dry, itchy eyes, you should reach for Visine, right? Wrong. According to Finkelston, you should resist using drops with tetra hydralazine, aka Visine, as itchy eyes typically don't respond to these eye drops. Instead, Finkelston says to opt for allergy-specific prescription eye drops or to use a cooling treatment such as a chilled face mask or slices of cold cucumbers to decrease the swelling and alleviate itchiness.
For those of you with really bad allergies, you likely experience skin irritation or rashes, for which Finkelston recommends moisturizing. To properly lock in moisture, she says to apply a thick emollient onto damp skin just after a shower or bath.