Allergies suck. It’s like the world is literally out to get me, filling the air with things my body has decided are some foreign invaders trying to kill me. Seasonal allergies are one thing. Your eyes get itchy during the Spring, or you get the tissues out when you start hearing the words “cedar fever”. But my body decided it didn’t want me to have just one allergy season when it could have all of them!
I got an allergy test about two years ago, one of those skin prick tests where they put a tiny amount of an allergen on the surface of your skin and see what happens. I’m thinking about writing a whole post on my allergy testing experience and why I got one, but basically, I’d been feeling sick for months and this was the next step in figuring out what was wrong with me.
They tested about 60 different allergens on my back including a bunch of grass/tree pollen, mold, and dust. The allergist left the room and came back about 15 minutes later to find my back lit up like a Christmas tree of hives. I reacted to almost every single allergen (everything but dogs pretty much). Some of the hives were so big they couldn’t even be measured because their tool wasn’t big enough.
So that’s how I figured out I have chronic allergies!
Up until this test, watery eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fatigue were just a normal part of my life. It’s taken a lot of trial and error but over the past couple years I’ve come up with a pretty solid routine to manage those symptoms and despite the fact that pollen is obnoxiously high in Austin right now, I feel almost 100%!
Even if you only have seasonal allergies, there are so many easy habits you can start to keep yourself healthy during your allergy season. Posting about how bad your allergies are and how much you’re suffering seems to be the trend on Twitter right now so I know some of you have them!!
Also, obviously I’m not a doctor, don’t hold me accountable if these tips don’t help, blah blah, yeah.
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Take an allergy pill every. Single. Day.
I thought this sounded crazy for a while, but this is probably the most important step of my allergy routine. I’ve taken an allergy pill every day for two years now and the occasional days I forget to take one are miserable. Like, within a few hours past the 24 hour dose mark my eyes start watering, which is at least an obvious reminder to take one.
I used Zyrtec for a while and thought it worked fine, but eventually I discovered that name brand pills are scams and $30 for two months of pills is insane! I switched to Target’s version which was a few dollars less, but I recently found out that Costco sells a bottle of 365 pills for TWENTY DOLLARS. They both have 10mg of Cetirizine HCl, and I haven’t noticed any difference in my symptoms since switching over three months ago. If you don’t have a Costco nearby they’re also on Amazon!
Keep your bedroom clean
You should make a habit of keeping your space as clean as possible! This means vacuuming often, washing your bed sheets every couple weeks (I wash my pillow sheets weekly), cleaning up any dust, and making sure your bathroom area stays dry. All of these habits will help keep dust mite and mold levels down, and eventually they’ll become as much of a routine to you as washing your laundry. Speaking of laundry, make sure those sheets are washed in hot water!
Watch your bedroom humidity
I’m allergic to dust mites, which thrive in high humidity areas. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms inside, this might be why! I bought a humidity monitor that lets me know if my room is too humid, and the levels in my bedroom were way too high. I wasn’t too surprised considering my bathroom doesn’t have an air vent and my windows are sealed horribly.
To combat that, I bought a mini fan that I keep in my bathroom to help with ventilation and I keep my bedroom door open as often as possible. The fan alone has helped incredibly and I leave it on pretty much all day during the warmer months to keep the air as dry as I can! Depending on your room, you might have to implement some crazy habits, but it’s so worth it when you don’t have to sneeze from being allergic to your own bedroom.
Separate your “outdoor” clothes from “indoor” ones
If outdoor allergies are your problem (like pollen), you’ll need to take extra care of where the clothes you’ve worn outside are stored. I keep all my jackets, pants/leggings, sweatshirts, and other things I where outside a lot in bins away from my bed and other clothes. I also keep my pajamas separated from everything else, so I know they’re as allergy free as possible.
Start using a sinus rinse
I admittedly don’t rinse everyday, but it’s the first action I take when I start feeling the symptoms that are usually taken care of by my allergy meds. A sinus rinse helps you clean out your nasal passages, which can help alleviate nasal allergy symptoms like congestion, sinus pressure, and post nasal drip.
They’re a little scary at first, but you have complete control over how much of the solution you pour and how fast you pour it! I personally use the Neti Pot style, but there’s also a squeeze bottle version. Make sure you follow the directions for your rinse, and don’t forget to mix your filtered water with the included packets, because you don’t want to do a rinse with plain water. For me, it feels best to use room temperature water, but some people like warming the water just a bit. If you have any questions about this or my experience, ask in the comments!
Do you deal with seasonal or chronic allergies? What are some things you’ve found that alleviate your symptoms? I’m considering getting allergy shots later this year but need to do some more research on that process!