Conquer Seasonal Allergies

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Conquer Seasonal Allergies

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), allergic rhinitis (aka seasonal allergies) affects between 10 percent and 30 percent of all American adults, and its prevalence is increasing. Thanks to global warming and other factors, the average pollen season is longer and more pollens are being produced, and this may be a part of the reason, says allergist Clifford Bassett, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine and Long Island College Hospital.

Seasonal allergies result when your immune system overreacts to allergens. Your body then releases a substance called histamine to fight off these allergens as if they were viruses, causing symptoms like nasal congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing, coughing, a scratchy throat and red, itchy or watery eyes as well as fatigue.

If allergies are not adequately treated, Bassett says, sufferers often develop related sinus symptoms, ear infections and/or asthma. Over-the-counter and prescription meds such as antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids (in the form of pills, nasal sprays and eye drops) can provide temporary relief but can also cause unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth. And immunotherapy (aka allergy shots), while often effective, can be time-consuming and expensive. So before you go to the drugstore or see your doctor, try the following lifestyle changes and natural remedies.