Surviving Allergy Season in Eastern North Carolina

Apr 14, 2016

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Spring is definitely a beautiful time in eastern North Carolina. The warm sunshine and colorful landscape entice everyone to come out of hibernation, trees are in bloom and the new growth of once dormant plants is abundant. All of this signifies one thing: allergy season has arrived. So, how do we survive this sneezy, itchy and watery season and still enjoy the splendor of what spring has to offer?

Working Outdoors

Mowing the grass is one of the worst things a person with seasonal allergies can do, but the fact of the matter is that someone’s got to do it. If that someone is you, you’ll want to be prepared. The turning of the blades not only stirs up settled pollen, but it also kicks up particles of grass which can also aggravate allergies. It’s a good idea to wear a protective mask to filter the air you are breathing in and minimize the effects of the allergens you are potentially inhaling. These masks are bought at your local home improvement store or use a handkerchief to tie over your nose and mouth while mowing. Anything is better than nothing at all.

Indoor Air Quality

Allergens find ways into your house through open doors or windows and are then recirculated through your HVAC system. Because of this, it’s important to use quality air filters and change them regularly.


How to decide which air filter is best.

  • Fiberglass filters were designed to protect your HVAC unit from dust. They only pull about 10% of allergens out of the air inside your home. While fiberglass filters are the least expensive, they don’t provide you with the air quality you need. 
  • Polyester and pleated air filters - Using a pleated or polyester style filters traps around 45% of air pollutants and typically cost around $10 each. Changing them every 30 days is best to keep you air quality in check. 
  • High-Efficiency filters are pricey (about $25 each), but well worth the investment if you know you are highly sensitive to pollen or mold. These filters remove up to 85% of air pollutants from your home. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, these filters are worth every penny.
  • Washable air filters are the worst purchase you can make. Despite the obvious maintenance required, they actually collect fungus and bacteria over time which is then circulated through your home. Save yourself some time and money and avoid this type of filter.

Medications

While we all like to avoid unnecessary medications, anti-allergy medications are a must through the season in many cases. Buying over-the-counter remedies, like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra, can help keep your allergy symptoms at bay. For some, this is all that is necessary, but others may need something a little stronger and need prescription-strength medication. Keep in mind, every allergy season comes to an end so you only need them for a short amount of time.

Nasal Saline Flushing

Irrigating your nasal passages provides much-needed relief for your allergy symptoms. Basically, the allergens get trapped on the hair follicles inside of your nose which causes inflammation of not only your nasal passageways but also your sinus cavities. This causes sinus pressure build up, runny nose, congestion and headaches. You can wash away these allergens quickly and easily with a saline flush to help combat those stubborn allergies. Using a saline solution (see below) you will want to lean over a sink or tub and turn your head to one side. Using a squirt bottle, spray the solution into the top nostril and let it drain out of your other nostril below. You will need to flush both sides so turn your head and repeat on each side for the maximum benefit.

Nasal Saline Mixture – mix all ingredients and pour into a squirt bottle

  • 8 oz. of warm distilled or sterilized water
  • ¼ tsp of non-iodized salt
  • ¼ tsp of baking soda

Don’t Bring Those Allergens Inside

Be aware of where you have been and what you are bringing in when you come inside. This goes for household pets as well. • If you’ve been enjoying the sunshine on your porch after dinner with your four-legged friend, be sure to use a towel to remove any pollen or allergen that has been trapped in their fur.

  • Wash your hair before climbing into bed. Pollen can attach itself to not only your pet’s hair but yours as well. Without a good wash, you are then transferring all of that pollen onto your pillowcase which you will breathe in all night as you sleep. This is a recipe for disaster and will guarantee that you will not wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. 
  • Clothes should always go directly in the wash when coming in from time outside during allergy season. Avoid tossing them on top of the hamper and walking away. The allergens will simply travel through the air in your home just as they do outside.

So just because you suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you can’t be out and enjoying the beauty of everything spring has to offer. Being outdoors is good for your physical and your mental health so it’s important to give yourself a nice breath of fresh air on a regular basis. Just keep these tips in mind before heading out and remember to give us a call should you need a little extra help from your physician during allergy season.