At last, the first warm days of spring! Time to open the windows, pack away the winter coats, get out in the garden -- and head to the pharmacy to stock up on allergymedications.
If you greet the arrival of spring each year with a stuffy nose and watery eyes instead of a happy heart, it's time to take a new look at your seasonal allergies. You may have been struggling with spring allergies for years, but that doesn't mean you can't learn a few new tricks about coping with them.
With the help of...
You may think pre-moistened wipes are gentler than plain-old tissue, but many diaper wipes or those made for removing makeup contain fragrance, detergents, or other chemicals that may further irritate cracked, dry skin, says Neil Schachter, MD, author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds & Flu.
Use soft tissue or toilet paper instead. Those with aloe may feel especially gentle.
2. Pat, Don’t Wipe
When you do blow your nose, pat your nostrils and the skin around your nose dry instead of rubbing or wiping, says New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.
When you pat, you get less friction and skin irritation than if you rub. That saves you some pain later.
3. Moisturize Multiple Times a Day
Several times a day -- after every blow, even -- dab a small amount of a gentle petrolatum-based product around your nostrils and onto any irritated patches of skin around your nose.
“Ointments are more helpful than creams or lotions, because they form a waterproof seal that lets the skin underneath heal itself,” Zeichner says.
4. Watch for an Infection
If you have deep skin cracks around the nose that don’t seem to heal, or if they become covered with a yellowish or honey-colored crust, you may have a skin infection.
If you think that’s the case, dab on a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the area three times a day, Zeichner says. It will moisturize and fight germs at the same time.
5. Flush More So You Can Blow Less
Rinse your nasal passages with a gentle saline (salt water) solution twice a day, morning and night, Schachter says. This will ease your congestion and rinse mucus out of your nasal passages without you having to blow your nose.
“Anything that can lower skin friction will keep the nose in better shape,” Zeichner says. (And remember, pat dry afterward -- don’t wipe.)