Your immune system has its guards up just like you do after getting hurt by a bad relationship. In fact, it reacts to seemingly-harmless substances such as pollen grains, dust mites, insect stings, certain food ingredients, and/or certain chemicals present in your medicines. The result? Allergies!
“An allergic reaction occurs when a harmless substance, such as a grass pollen spore, enters the body and is incorrectly identified as dangerous. The immune system kicks into overdrive, attacking the allergen to keep you safe–and causing familiar allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, rashes on the skin, asthma, swelling, itching etc.,” says Dr. Shikha Sharma, senior consultant, ENT (ear, nose, throat) department, Fortis Hospital Noida.
The risk of getting these allergies particularly increases during a seasonal change when pollination (transfer of pollen from a male part of a plant to a female part of a plant for fertilisation) is at its peak, resulting in seasonal allergies.
Apart from the pollen grains triggering an allergy, the change in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot too can get the better of you as your body might find it difficult to adapt to this change.
However, you needn’t panic, folks. These six tips can help you survive the seasonal change by helping you to prevent or manage your allergies smartly:
1. Try to stay indoors as much as possible
The transition from cold to hot or hot to cold weather can be a great trigger for allergies. Thus, living in the controlled environment of your house can prevent you from the extremities and the sudden change.
“People can tackle allergies if they are living in a moderated environment; if they aren’t suddenly moving from cold spaces to hot spaces or vice versa suddenly; or if they are being able to maintain their body temperature,” Dr Sharma points out.
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Also, keep your doors and windows closed—especially at night to keep the dust and pollen from entering your house.
2. Maintain cleanliness
Cleanliness is of paramount importance, especially for those who are more prone to getting dust and pollen-grain allergies.
“Try keeping the house free of dust by vacuum cleaning using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner and use an air purifier with a HEPA filter for added protection from dust and dirt particles,” suggests Dr Sharma.
“However, avoid using harsh chemicals to clean the house as they can aggravate your symptoms,” she warns.
3. Take care of your pets
If you have a pet at home, chances are that the dust, dirt, and other allergens trapped in their fur can make your life difficult. Hence, Sharma recommends brushing their hair and making them bathe frequently.
If possible, try to allocate this job to someone else if you’re prone to allergies so as to avoid any exposure to the trapped dust and dirt while you’re near your pet.
4. Take care of yourself
A study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings recommends washing and bathing more often especially after a prolonged outdoor exposure in order to get rid of the dust and dirt that might have gotten stuck on your body.
Not to mention, take off your shoes and clothes you’ve stepped out of and keep them separately in order to avoid dragging allergens inside your house.
5. Eat healthy
While immunity-boosting foods such as green, leafy veggies, citrus fruits, ginger and garlic can definitely keep your allergies from growing into something more serious, consuming probiotics and locally-produced honey can alleviate symptoms of the allergy caused as per a study conducted in 2015.
6. Plan ahead
“Banishing allergens from your home may not be enough to eliminate your chances of getting an allergy as the season changes. If you know that you suffer from seasonal allergies, start taking allergy medications before symptoms begin for best results. If over-the-counter medications aren’t helping, see your doctor,” Dr Sharma says.
Additionally, she also recommends keeping antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays approved by your physician handy so as to tackle this problem more effectively.