By Katy Siwirski

Summertime is here, and that means allergy season is in full swing. The prevalence of allergic rhinitis has increased substantially over the past 15 years. Some theories to this include climate change, which makes allergy season longer. Regardless, it is important to take your allergies seriously, and treat them accordingly to avoid times of sickness and misery.

If you have recently experienced allergies, it is important to determine if it actually is allergies or just similar symptoms. The sudden transition from cold to warm weather can make it hard to tell an allergic reaction from a cold or virus. Suspect that you have allergies if you have congestion lasting longer than two weeks. If symptoms worsen after being exposed to triggers, such as spending time outdoors, you may be experiencing allergies. Are you ready for relief? Head to your local drugstore to pick up some over-the-counter medication to relieve symptoms. Decongestants will relieve a stuffy nose, and antihistamines will take care of stuffiness. If your allergies are severe, seek out some prescription relief from your doctor. Do you dislike the tired and foggy feeling from allergy medication? Try a saline nasal rinse, or gargle salt water.

Are your allergies outdoor related? Be sure to take off your shoes and work clothes upon arriving home. Take a shower at night to wash off any remaining pollen. Exercise inside, and keep your windows closed. Wear a surgical mask outdoors to minimize your exposure to pollen particles. Eating healthier will also relieve allergy symptoms, especially grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes. Drink plenty of fluids to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages for extra relief. Hot fluids are also good because the steam can help to alleviate your congestion. Bring natural cleaners into your home because harsh chemicals can irritate the nasal passage. Don’t be afraid to take these extra steps to relieve allergy symptoms.

Last, but not least, treat your allergy symptoms seriously. Allergy symptoms can take a big toll on your personal well-being. Don’t be afraid to rest up, go to bed early, or take a sick day. If you overdo it and run around feeling awful, you’re only going to feel worse in the long run. Treat your allergies seriously, and take care of yourself to relieve symptoms.

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