Five Tips to Make it Through this Allergy Season
Spring is in the air. For most people, this little homily suggests nothing more than the welcome arrival of long walks and warmer climes. For a small subset of people, however, it is more like a promise of trouble brewing. Because when spring arrives, it brings with it a vast array of pollens, pollutants and allergens that can make daily living an exercise in misery.
As a specialist in sinus conditions, I often get questions from people looking for expert advice about allergies and sinus discomfort. Although I offer plenty of specific recommendations based on each individual case, I also want to post a quick and comprehensive round-up of some more general advice. Think of this as a handy clip ‘n’ save: Five Expert Tips To Make It Through This Allergy Season.
Tip #1: Know Thy Allergies
Sounds simple, right? But most people never take the time or trouble to determine precisely what triggers their symptoms. Using a blanket term like “pollen” is a little like describing an acute peanut allergy as a problem with nuts: it is a fairly crude diagnosis, and one that does not suggest much in the way of helpful remedies. A specialist can provide you a far more detailed workup that covers hundreds of types of plant, dust, foods, and dander. Armed with this information, you can then plan your days – and avoid those triggers – accordingly.
Tip #2: Check the Weather
Pollen is such a common scapegoat because many people do, in fact, respond to the presence of various pollens with inflammation and discomfort. The good news is that pollen levels are generally a knowable evil: many local weather stations and websites offer “pollen forecasts” based on factors such as humidity, wind, and trending temperatures. Read these, use them, and make them your friend. Your sinuses will thank you.
Tip #3: Think Clean
We have already established that much of what ails you is floating in the air. Dust and other irritants can build up throughout the winter, then take to flight in the spring as windows fling open and activity increases. Keeping your furniture dusted and vacuumed can go a long way toward minimizing your symptoms, especially if you have pets or plants in the house. It is also wise to keep your clothes and hair clean, as pliant surfaces like these can be great places for unwanted particles to hitch a ride inside your home.
Tip #4: Quit That Nasal Spray
Most people who use over the counter nasal decongestant sprays soon discover that it takes more and more spray to get the job done. This is because your body acclimates to the medication and begins to “push back” against its effects, essentially becoming more congested as a compensatory measure. If you have used nasal spray for more than three days without any lasting improvement, try laying off the medication altogether and speaking to a doctor about some other remedies such as corticosteroid sprays or anti-histamines.
Tip #5: Call the Pros
Okay, but what if you have tried all these things and you still have chronic pain, pressure, or difficulty breathing? This is a sign that it’s time to speak with a sinus specialist about some more permanent solutions. Many people who chalk up seasonal allergies to the season alone are missing the bigger picture, namely that the problem might lie with the anatomy or bacterial state of their sinuses. Effective sinus surgery is one of the surest ways to rid yourself of these kinds of issues for good, especially if your allergy is only a bit player in a larger problem. The only way to know for sure is to speak with a sinus expert . To learn more and get your allergy testing, please feel free to contact Dr. Mani Zadeh at the Los Angeles Sinus Institute today.