Allergy Relief and Advice from Alert1

Updated 7/20/15 10:23am | Spring has sprung and that means so has allergy season. Every year, 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies known as hay fever; pollen is the biggest spring allergy trigger. As you may well be aware, allergies don’t discriminate based on age. For relief you may consider spring cleaning at home, over the counter medicines or avoiding peak pollen times.  This article serves to help caregivers and seniors alike be prepared for the stuffy noses and watery eyes in store.

Pollen is made up of tiny grains that are released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds, in order to fertilize other plants. When pollen gets into the nose of someone with allergies, it triggers their immune system. The pollen grains seem like invaders to the immune system, which releases antibodies to attack them. When antibodies attack the allergens, histamines are released into the blood and this triggers common allergy symptoms.

Nothing has been discovered that will block pollen from getting into the immune system. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with allergies that range from medication to household habits. The best way to keep spring allergies under control is to limit your contact with known allergens. 

Medical Treatment

A doctor can recommend both prescription and over-the-counter medication. For many people, over-the-counter remedies work just fine. Antihistamines can help lower the amount of histamine in the body to reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Decongestants can help clear out the nasal passageways and reduce swelling. Depending on the medicine, you can combine the two for a powerful anti-allergy cocktail.

For some people, nasal sprays work faster than decongestants to clear nasal passages. There is even a nasal spray that can help block the release of histamines into the system. Many allergy sufferers use eye drops throughout the day to relieve their itchy, watery eyes. If over-the-counter medication isn’t working, a doctor can help with next steps such as prescription allergy medication or allergy shots.

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Natural Therapies

Even though research on effectiveness is not conclusive, some allergy sufferers prefer to use natural remedies instead. Some people also use them in addition to medical treatment. A Swiss study showed that the herb butterbur, a European shrub, is a natural antihistamine. Quercetin is a flavonoid found in onions, apples, and black tea; it has inflammatory properties and has also been shown in research to block histamines.

Nasal irrigation is used to help open your sinuses and clear out mucus. You take a squeeze bottle or neti pot and combine a solution of warm water, a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda. Acupuncture is another non-medicinal therapy that gives many people lasting relief from allergy symptoms. Please remember that “natural” does not mean safe. Always check with a doctor first.

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Household Habits

Pollen can travel for miles and the higher the pollen count, the more miserable an allergy sufferer will be. Pollen activity can fluctuate depending on time of day and seasonality. Check the daily pollen count before leaving the house by watching the local weather forecast or visiting NAB: Pollen & Mold Counts page on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s web site. Alert1 has comprised a list of precautions that you can follow in your daily life to help you avoid allergy triggers.

  • Try to stay inside in the mornings, when pollen counts often peak.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible in the spring to keep pollen out.
  • When you’re drying your laundry, you’ll want to avoid hanging them on a clothesline as pollen can stick to your clothes.
  • A good home investment idea is an all-purpose air purifier.
  • Keep your home air filters clean, as well as dust all bookshelves, vents, and other places pollen might collect on a regular basis.
  • Vacuum your home at least twice a week to pick up any pollen trapped into the carpet.
  • Don’t forget to wear a mask while cleaning, so none of the pollen that gets kicked up will be inhaled.
  • After spending time outside, you may consider a quick rinse or shower because pollen can collect in your hair and stick to your skin.

Protection from Allergy Triggers

You’re not alone in the woes of allergy season. On a warm and sunny day, you don’t want to be deal with itchy eyes or a runny nose. There are many different causes of allergies, some of which are preventable. Steering clear of known allergens can help to an extent. Seek out the help of a physician if you have an extreme case of allergies. 


WebMD: Allergies Health Center --
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) --