Earth to Allergy Control
Jake Nachlas, Summer Intern for Nathan E Nachlas, MD
Hockey season just ended, and I don’t think I’m speaking for myself when I say it kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Sweat rolling down my cheek, squeezing the couch so tight my hands would hurt, not knowing whether I should close my eyes when the other team shot or keep them open to see an amazing save. I’m usually in bed by 9-9:30, but during the playoffs, it could be as late as midnight. Last minute goals, overtime, double overtime, triple overtime! I wouldn’t be able to sleep after the game ended because I’d replay the last goal in my head over and over wondering what went wrong. It was an intense, action-packed season filled with surprises and upsets. I don’t really want to elaborate on it though because seriously, it’s in the past, and an even more intense season is coming up: a season that could also keep you up late at night, and not by choice. A season that could also keep you up wondering what went wrong. A season of upsets, but not as many surprises. A season where sometimes you won’t have a choice whether to close your eyes or keep them open. Ladies and Gentlemen, the summer allergy season is here.
But don’t worry! And if you are worried, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been dealing with allergies all my short life. My dad has them, my older brother has them, my sister has them (Oops!). And over the years, like a dragon, you learn to tame the allergies, because they’re really a pain if you don’t! So I want to share a few ways you can “tame” your allergies, and if not tame them then lessen them, because this summer is going to be a hot one and there’s no better way to spend a vacation than being active and outdoors with the people you love.
Know Your Allergies | Sublingual Allergy Drops
First off, and most importantly, know what your allergies are. You can never control what you don’t know, it’s just that simple. Come in and get tested so you can learn about what to do and not to do. It’s the first step, and it’s always good to get it out of the way. Your doctor may give you relief medication or may start you on sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, to help your body slowly and safely build immunity to some of the things you’re allergic to.
Early Morning Workouts? Maybe Heat is the Better Option After All…
Yup, it’s true. Pollen levels in the air are the worst in the early hours before sunrise, and again after sunset. Also, stick to workouts like swimming, biking or running to really open your lungs and avoid the quickly changing sports like tennis or soccer. If it feels too humid outside, that’s also a sign. Mother Earth is telling you to go get back into bed and relax for a little longer, maybe with a cup of hot tea.
Good Hygiene is Good Practice | Don’t Have a Stuffy Nose at Night
Having good hygiene is always extremely important, whether you have allergies or not. It is how you keep your body healthy, and it’s how you keep yourself well so you can keep up with your daily routine. Some of the ways you can stay healthy and clean is by keeping your home healthy and clean. Clean the kitchen, clean the floors, clean the family room, clean the sheets (if you don’t want a stuffy nose at night, that is), etc.! Keeping your house clean is the best way to avoid dust and mold build up, both of which are extremely bad allergens. Make sure you wash your hands, too. Get all of the dirt or bacteria or whatever off your hands and do it frequently. Lastly, one thing I love is a steam shower, or closing the bathroom door and making a steam room. It opens up my pores, opens up my airways, and really helps me feel clean again after an asthma incident or allergy build up.
The Squirrel Diet Takes the Cake
Believe it or not, crepes and waffles are in fact not the best foods to eat if you want feel relief from your allergies. Stick to better foods like vegetables or fruits or nuts, and keep up the Vitamin C intake. Also, consuming small amounts of local honey every day early on may help build your immunity to the pollen in your area. Lastly, packing up a tuna fish sandwich or getting the delicious, mouth-watering cedar plank salmon (Man, now I’m hungry) will boost your Omega-3 fatty acid intake which can help to reduce inflammation caused by allergies.
If They’re Still Bad, Come Back for Seconds | See a Sinus Doctor
If they say you’re allergic to something, avoid it. That’s one piece of advice to keep you going in the right direction. No food or workout has ever proven to “cure” allergies, but some of these tips that I’ve shared may help relieve you, at least a little, from the annoyance of allergies. Try some allergy medicine, too. Allegra and Nasacort have both worked well with my family and me, so I recommend starting on those. Sublingual allergy drops should bring relief, but only if you keep up with it. And lastly, if you think you’re allergies are getting worse, come in to see a sinus doctor or an allergy specialist before it turns into a sinus infection or chronic sinusitis. Surgery can be done to reopen your nasal passage and increase airflow with minimally invasive procedures that will have you breathing easy again, out doing the things you love with the people you love. And I usually don’t have a bias, but I hear my dad is pretty good at that kind of stuff. 🙂
– Intern Jake Nachlas, not yet MD