Allergic reactions can make it impossible to go about enjoying your day. Between the stuffed-up nose, the sneezes and the puffy eyes -- in addition to any other symptoms that may develop -- allergies make it hard to carry on with your day. But for some people, the prolonged duration of allergy season can make it impossible to simply wait out the symptoms.
It's not easy -- or practical -- for some allergies to be avoided. Although some preventative measures can help you avoid allergies, or at least keep them under better control, the odds are good that you need actual, effective steps you can take to manage and improve allergies and minimize their effects. Here are some key steps you should take to develop a plan for managing your allergies.
Identify the cause
The single-best thing you can do for your allergies is to figure out what's causing the flare-ups. A doctor's office can perform expensive tests to figure this out, but you can also figure things out on your own by paying attention to how allergic reactions develop. Take note of the environment and any potential allergens that could be affecting you. Do research regarding the common allergies of a particular season --spring tends to be the worst for tree pollen, while ragweed is often worst in the fall-- and be mindful of whether or not you've been touching your face and possibly agitating it with allergens.
Knowing the exact cause of your allergies will make it much easier to defend against them.
Avoid exposure to known allergens
If you're allergic to something as simple as dogs or cats, you might be able to manage your allergies simply by avoiding the irritants. But if your issue lies with pollen in the air, total avoidance likely isn't possible. You can, however, minimize your exposure by spending more time indoors and avoiding areas -- such as flower gardens and meadows -- where these allergens will be most potent. If you're particularly concerned about this exposure, you might prefer to wear a breathing mask when outside.
Change indoor air filters regularly
Indoor air filtration can be very useful in curbing the presence of allergens in your home. Whether it's from pets, pollen or other airborne allergens, the air filters in your air conditioner and furnace have a direct effect on how well you can withstand the presence of these agitants. As they accumulate dust, dirt and allergens, the air filters in your home need to be changed frequently -- typically every one to three months -- so that they can continue to be effective in cleansing your home's air. If you let these filters fall by the wayside, you'll suffer with more allergens in your home.
Use over-the-counter or natural remedies to improve allergies
Fortunately, medications can provide some relief in lessening the effects of allergies. An over-the-counter medication may be enough to erase the symptoms of allergies entirely, but more severe cases may require a prescription. If you are leery of taking pharmaceuticals -- or if they fail to yield an improvement in your condition -- other herbal and homeopathic remedies may be able to offer relief.
When it comes to managing allergies, the task of finding viable solutions can often be a process of trial and error. But over time, you should be able to come up with a game plan that allows you to keep your allergies under control without forcing yourself into quarantine. And if you continue to struggle to find solutions, your doctor or an allergist should be able to provide additional guidance.