Sneezy Itchy Watery, Oh My!
Updated: Sep 8
September is usually time for back to school, football, and fall allergies. This year, allergies will be the only constant due to the disruption of school and sports by COVID-19. Fall allergies start mid to late August with ragweed pollen. If you have spring allergies, there is a good chance that you also have symptoms in the fall from weeds, grasses, and molds. The amount of allergens in the air depends on heat and humidity. Warmer temperatures and higher humidity increase mold spores. Wind then disperses the spores and pollen. Common symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis include itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. A cough can develop from nasal drainage and throat irritation. Symptoms can be mild and tolerable or severe, interfering with a person's quality of life.
How to minimize your seasonal allergy symptoms:
Limit exposure to outdoor allergens.
Keep windows shut, including car windows
Remove and wash your clothes after working outside
Leave your shoes at the door
Wear a mask
Indoors use an air purifier (HEPA) and dehumidifier.
Use a sinus rinse or Neti Pot twice daily to rinse allergens from the nasal and sinus passages.
Try a nasal steroid spray. I recommend starting in mid-August and continuing through a hard frost. It can take up to two weeks to note improvement, though many people notice symptom relief sooner. Mild common side effects may include headaches and nasal irritation.
For itchy watery eyes, olopatadine is available over the counter.
Antihistamines like diphenhydramine, cetirizine, and loratadine can help with sneezing and itchy watery noses/eyes, but can be drying and sedating. Decongestants make some people feel jittery.
Other medications, such as astelin and olopatadine nasal sprays and montelukast are only available with a doctor's prescription.
At this time I can't recommend any specific herbs as dosing, formulations, and safety are not regulated.
Locally produced honey may prove beneficial for allergies. The theory is that bees collect local pollen which is found in their honey. Allergies are due to local pollen, ingesting the honey over time may decrease the allergic response to the pollen. Honey is also a great cough suppressant.
Acupuncture is considered a safe and effective treatment for allergies. Numerous studies have demonstrated that acupuncture reduces symptoms and decreases the use of antihistamines. Acupuncture works by decreasing the inflammatory response to allergens and boosts immune function.
I am currently offering 4 allergy acupuncture treatments for $60
With continued concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and symptoms of COVID-19 overlapping with seasonal allergies, here is a link to the CDC that can help differentiate between them.