How to Manage Allergies

February 22, 2023

Allergies are widespread, with as many as one in five people worldwide estimated to suffer from them. From sneezing and a runny nose due to pollen to skin rashes and digestive problems resulting from touching certain materials or eating specific foods, allergies can have debilitating effects on daily life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage your allergies better so they do not hold you back. Antihistamines are the primary treatment for sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes accompanying allergies. Antihistamines also relieve hives and other symptoms of food allergies. Many people with hay fever are familiar with older antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine. Although these drugs are effective, they make many people sluggish and tired. Fortunately, next-generation antihistamines are much less likely to cause drowsiness at recommended dosages.

Getty images/Moment/ Carol Yepes

The effects are long-lasting, so you typically only need to take it once daily rather than every 4-6 hours. Allergy shots can help reduce sensitivity to allergy triggers. This therapy involves injecting small amounts of the allergen at regular intervals. Typically, this means weekly injections in increasing doses for 3 to 6 months, followed by monthly injections for 3 to 5 years. Treatment for seasonal allergies that cause sneezing, stuffy nose, itching, and puffy eyes can be very effective. Allergy shots are almost always recommended for life-threatening allergies to stinging insects and can help treat allergic asthma. Allergy shots are not currently used to treat food allergies.

Avoid bringing pollen indoors after going out. Pollen counts are highest between early morning and noon and on hot, dry, and windy days. If you can exercise indoors or run errands later in the evening, you will reduce the pollen you inhale. Take off your shoes and change clothes when you get home. Take a shower before bed to rid your body of pollen. And do not let your furry pets sleep with you. For better sleep, try layering your mattress and pillows with a hypoallergenic duvet cover, wash your bedding once a week in hot soapy water, and use a clothes dryer instead of a clothesline.