Okay, so I’m not actually allergic to the season, but I’m allergic to most things that happen in the spring. Basically, if it blooms and pollinates, I’m allergic to it.
It’s rough when you’re pretty much allergic to everything outside. It means you have to limit your time outside if you don’t want to suffer from the symptoms. That totally sucks since the weather is finally warmer and it’s sunny and bright, and it makes me want to head down to a park or go for a hike. But I know that’s a terrible idea.
So here’s my guide to allergy season from me, someone allergic to everything spring.
Apps to Track Allergies
The first thing you want to do is download an app to track the pollen count. I personally have the WebMD app because it doesn’t track just pollen, but other allergens like dust and mold. It also gives you the ability to track your symptoms so you can see what you’re more sensitive to.
Here are the top 3 allergy apps:
- Pollen.com’s Allergy Alert
- WebMD Allergy app
- Zyrtec’s AllergyCast
OTC Oral Allergy Medication
There are many choices of antihistamines available now a days. The biggest difference between medications is whether they are first generation or second generation antihistamines. First generations have drowsiness as a side effect and generally can knock you out if you’re not prepared for it.
The most common first generation antihistamines is Benadryl. Personally, I only take this if what I normally take isn’t working, and usually wait until it’s closer to bed time.
For me, Benadryl is faster acting than the other medications.
Now, for the second generation antihistamines:
- Allegra Allergy
- Alavert, Claritin
I’ve only really taken Zyrtec in the recent times, and it’s been pretty helpful, but I’m also on a prescription antihistamine. Each person is going to have their own reactions to the various meds, and people are going to have their own favorites. Unfortunately you won’t really know which is best for you unless you give it a try.
If your allergies are as bad as mine are, your doctor may prescribe you something stronger to help you get through the season. I personally take Singulair (Montelukast) daily as my main anti-allergy medication.
According to WebMD, Singulair:
If your allergies are not being controlled by general over the counter medications, you might want to talk to a doctor about finding something stronger.
Nose Sprays and Eye Drops
Sometimes you need a little bit extra but not quite a trip to the doctor. Itchy eyes and itchy noses can be frustrating, so there are thing like nose sprays and eye drops. The most common nose spray out there is Flonase.
I’m pretty bad with remembering to use nose sprays, so I can’t really give my personal opinion on it. However, it does seem to be pretty common and useful since it’s been recommended to me at doctors appointments.
Eye drops are something that I’m more than familiar with. My eyes get super itchy with an allergy attack.
I personally have a prescription version because I need the super heavy duty kind of stuff. However, according to that same WebMD article, here are a few types of over the counter brands to try out.
- Azelastine (Optivar)
- Emedastine (Emadine)
- Ketotifen (Alaway)
- Olopatadine (Pataday, Patanol, Pazeo)
- Pheniramine (Visine-A, Opcon-A, others)
Take a Shower in the Evening
Now, I’m not just going on about how fantastic taking a shower at night is, and how it’s changed my life for the better, but it has a real reason if you’re allergic to pollen.
Have you ever spent time outside and felt okay, but then once you got inside and settled down, your allergies went pretty nuts?
You can chalk it up to you having a delayed reaction, or it could be because you’ve got pollen all over your lovely self and it’s not going anywhere.
Taking a shower later in the evening, before bed will wash away all that pollen hanging out on your body. There have been plenty times where I’ve tried to lay down for a nap after work and my eyes star itching like crazy because all that pollen in my hair is getting up my nose.
I haven’t been able to try this out for myself yet, but I know my old roommate had one and loved it.
Air purifiers have been something promoted towards allergy sufferers for years now. There are so many options, some cheap, and some that get outrageously priced (seriously, a $900 air purifier!?)
If you’ve used an air purifier, leave me a comment about your experience with it!
Allergy Shots and Steroids
If you’re like me and your allergies are super villains like mine, you might wake up one morning with a sever allergy attack that nothing in your antihistamine arsenal has been able to help, it might be time to bring out the big guns.
And by big guns, I mean going to the doctor and getting a prescription for a dose of steroids.
Steroids aren’t something doctors want to hand out willy nilly, so make sure you’ve tried other methods of calming your allergies before heading in. They will usually give a dose for a few days or a week depending on how bad you are at the time. Remember, TAKE ALL OF THE MEDICATION PRESCRIBED TO YOU! I can’t emphasize this enough.
If you have a cycle of needing steroids multiple times a season, you might want to look into not only finding an allergist who can help you control things better, but look into allergy shots.
Your doctor will run a scratch test once any antihistamines are out of your system (so don’t be me and go during peak allergy season!) to what you are specifically allergic to. They will then create a bottle or bottles of solution with what you are allergic to and put you on a schedule to have them injected. You start off once a week, and slowly over time the ratio of allergen to solution increases, and eventually the frequency of needing the shots decreases.
I’ve been on allergy shots for 2 years now and I only go once a month. That might seem like a lot to you, but I only needed one round of steroids last season compared to the multiple times the year before. They are truly a lifesaver to anyone with severe allergies to anything.
These things do not come cheap. Your insurance depends on how much it will cost, but it will probably be pretty steep. I personally need 3 different bottles and each refill is somewhere between $500 – $600. However, I have an HSA so I pay mostly full price for things until I hit my deductible. At that point things are significantly slashed in price.
My office also offers the ability to pay in installments, which I would hope most offices offer.
What do you do for allergy season? Do you think I’ve missed anything?
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