While many people look forward to the warm springtime arriving after a long, cold winter, you may not be one of them if you suffer from bad allergies in the springtime. While you may think that the only way to prepare for the onslaught of pollen and other allergens is to stock up on antihistamines and other allergy medications, there are other things you can do today to keep from having to need as many, or possibly any, allergy medications when warm weather finally arrives. Take these two steps now before allergy season instead of waiting to take action when it is already too late.
1. Learn How to Use a Neti Pot
A neti pot is a small, affordable, teapot shaped device that many ENTs advise their patients who are allergy-sufferers to use. It is designed to rinse foreign particles from your nasal passages and sinuses, although people also enjoy using it to control other sinus problems.
Once you purchase a neti pot, you simply fill it with distilled water (never tap). Then, you add either a package of ready-made neti pot powder to it or about one-quarter teaspoon of sea salt and one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda. Mix it up, tip your head forward over a sink, and then pour half of the mixture into one nostril, allow it to come out of the other. Then, use the second half of the solution in your other nostril.
Since the mixture in it is similar to simple saline solution, you can use a neti pot daily without risk of harming your sinuses or nasal passages. Practice using it a few times to get the hang of it, and then, when allergen counts in your area begin to rise this spring, start using it daily when you retire indoors for the day. This will keep those pesky allergens from acccumulating in your nose and triggering your allergy symptoms.
2. Finally Invest in That Indoor Air Cleaning System
Once you rinse those particles of allergens out of your sinuses when retiring indoors for the day, you don't want to have to worry about them accumulating again in your own home. Unfortunately, even if you keep your windows shut and the air conditioning system running during the spring and summer, allergens still enter your home. Air conditioners do have filters, but they are only designed to remove large particles of dust and dirt and not tiny pollen particles.
Equipping your home with an air cleaning system now can keep your home allergen-free all spring and summer. While you should have air cleaners in your entire home, the most important room to install one in is your bedroom. You spend 7–8 hours in it every night sleeping, and that is time your body uses to repair itself. You don't want to detour the focus of your immune system from healing your body to fighting allergens all night long.
What should you look for in an indoor air cleaning system? First, realize that air "purifiers" and indoor air cleaners are different. An air purifier typically kills airborne pathogens, like viruses and bacteria, while an air cleaner removes particles of dust, dander, pollen, and other allergens. You can find systems that combine the two, but just be sure that your air cleaner doesn't just sterilize the air and actually does remove allergen particles.
Once you are sure you are purchasing an air cleaner, look for one that filters very small particles from the air. While a particle of pollen is typically at least 10 microns, dust particles can be as small as one micron. Many manufacturers advertise the smallest particle size they can remove, so look for this information on the label or look it up online. Doctors often advise allergy suffers to look for HEPA filters, because they remove tiny particles as small as .3 microns. A hybrid filter unit is also a good option, because it combines the power of a HEPA filter with an electronic, electrostatic filter that can attract any particles the HEPA filter misses.
If you are dreading springtime due to bad allergies, start getting ready now, and you can prevent those allergy symptoms instead of waiting for them to happen, then treating the symptoms. Keep your sinuses and nasal passages from building up allergen particles by rinsing your sinuses with a neti pot and turning on that air cleaning system as soon as the allergen index in your area begins to rise.