Canadian allergy sufferers are currently breathing sighs of relief because, yay, pollen season is over. But as soon as those spring/summer/fall allergy symptoms disappear, we're all still sniffling and clearing our throats. I spend most of September through, oh, August, with a stuffy nose and I'm pretty sure I'm not that sickly. So what's up with that? Most likely environmental allergies. According to Best Health, here are the top three ways to tell you're suffering from allergies and not the common cold:
• Symptoms last longer than a week or two
• Fevers are not associated with allergies
• The delightful gunk running from your nose is clear
With cold weather on the horizon, you can expect to be indoors for much more of your time, so here's a list of the top ten ways you can help prepare for winter allergens.
If you've got the symptoms, get the diagnosis. With a simple skin test, an allergist can tell you if you're allergic to dust mites (don't google them, just trust me that they're totally grody), mould, your husband or your pet Fido. Ok, so maybe one of those things doesn't fit, but you get my point.
You have no idea what kinds of disgusting microscopic beasties live in that fluffy pillow of yours, or that cozy down duvet. It's worth the money to invest in allergy-free covers and bedding to keep a solid barrier between you and the mites.
When possible, vote against that plush wall-to-wall carpet you've had your eye on. The amount of dust, dander and other allergens that can get caught in carpeting is extremely high, and can exacerbate allergies and asthma.
Give your house a seasonal scrub-down to rid it of allergens. Or if means allow, hire a cleaning service to complete a "deep clean" of your home. Check damp places like bathrooms and basements for potential mould, and get right into the corners to get ride of dust and dander. Make sure you're using a HEPA filter when vacuuming to be sure you're collecting all the spores and dust.
That cozy wood-burning fireplace is no friend to allergy sufferers. There are irritants in damp firewood and smoke can flare allergies.
Good furnace filters can remove almost 30% of all allergens from your air, and when you're breathing that stale, recycled winter home air, that goes a long way to relieving allergy symptoms!
If it's pet dander you're allergic to, having them bathed and groomed regularly will greatly improve your health. During seasonal changes especially, regular grooming reduces the amount of loose fur and dander on our pets, making it easier to love them up without a tissue box nearby.
If you have allergies to plants, trees, or other pollens, and you're a fan of Christmas, consider choosing a fake tree. And if you can't bring yourself to buy an artificial tree, at least spray your real one with water before bringing it inside, to reduce the pollen and other spores that exist on it.
That's right, even on a day when it's cold enough to freeze your nose hairs to your nostrils, get some fresh air flowing through your home.
When avoiding your allergens just isn't possible, invest in the right medication to relieve your symptoms. Some drugs target certain allergens/symptoms, so speak to a pharmacist and figure out what's right for you.