Springtime Allergy Hacks

As the sun starts to melt the last signs of winter and the rain waters the first signs of spring, warmer weather is right around the corner. Many rejoice at the signs for an early spring, ready to be over with winter. I can confidently say, if you are one of the rejoicers, you (probably) don’t have springtime allergies. Climbing temperatures and sunny days only signal one thing for me: allergies. With all the sunshine and rain, trees and flowers alike begin to bloom and it is only a matter of time before outside surfaces have a yellow sheen to them. From the end of March through May, I’m perpetually drowsy on Benadryl with swollen eyes. Luckily, my allergies are not new and, after a lifetime of them, I think I’m starting to get the hang of them. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite hacks to get me through the most miserable time of the year. Happy spring.

(Photo by Anisur Rahman on Unsplash)

  1. 1. Start your allergy medication BEFORE having symptoms.

    This goes for eye drops as well. I know, I know, I sound like your mother. Moms all across the country have been saying this for years, and we never listen. If I’m not currently suffering from allergies, I’m usually not thinking about them. However, medicines such as Claritin and Allegra need to build up in your system for at least a few weeks before taking full effect. Let me tell you, I starting taking a Claritin every morning starting at the beginning of March and I didn’t suffer from allergies until MID-APRIL when normally they start in the middle of March. I was spared from weeks of itchiness until the pollen reached high levels.

  2. 2. Cold compresses. 

    This one is geared towards red, itchy eyes because, although the frequency of my sneezing increases, my eyes are the most sensitive to the pollen. And we all know, do not itch your eyes. I don’t care how itchy they feel. It’ll be euphoric to rub them, but as soon as you stop, you didn’t even realize it was possible for them to itch even more. And now they’re bright red and puffy, awesome. To soothe your eyes, flush them out with some lukewarm water (or cold if you want to feel something, aka pain, instead of itch for a second) to remove all the pollen. If you don’t have much time, keep two spoons in the freezer and place them over each eye. They don’t stay cold for very long after making contact with your skin. If you have a little more time, wet a washcloth with cold water (putting it in the fridge for a few minutes is optional) and cover your eyes. I typically do this when I’m going to bed or during a Benadryl-induced nap. The cold will soothe the irritation and reduce swelling and inflammation around your eyes.

  3. 3. Change your clothes after being outside.

    If pollen is stuck to your clothes, you don’t want to track it around your house and especially not into your bed. You’ll never find relief when inside if allergens remain in your house. Similarly, even though I don’t wash my hair every day, I make a conscious effort to at least wet my hair once I know I’m in for the night. This helps remove any excess pollen that’s stuck to my hair and keeps my pillow free from pollen, so I don’t have a flare up in the middle of the night.

  4. 4. Check weather apps. 

    While this may not be a hack because there’s really nothing you can do to control the weather, monitor pollen levels, and the weather closely. Many apps report predicted pollen levels a few days in advance, so try to schedule outdoor activities accordingly. Warm, dry, windy days are not your friend! The wind will blow the pollen right into your system. The best time to be outside is immediately or the day after it rains. The rain will wash loose pollen out of the air, which is why you’ll see puddles with a yellow film around the edges, making it a lot easier to be outside without experiencing your allergy symptoms!

Basically, don’t let people who think spring is the best season fool you. They simply do not suffer from allergies during it. And, unless you have fall allergies, I could write another article on why fall is superior. For all my fellow allergy-sufferers, I have faith we will pull through this season and may summer be here soon to end our misery. Until then, please the rain gods and take your medicine.