Fall Allergies and Sinusitis
Autumn has arrived, and you can’t stop sneezing and sniffling. You may be suffering from allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
Ragweed: The Prime Cause of Fall Allergies continued...
If you share your home with a furry friend that ventures outdoors, brushing
and bathing it outside will help prevent pollen from being tracked inside.
4. Watch What You Eat
Because they contain proteins similar to the ones in ragweed, certain foods
can exacerbate allergy symptoms. Steer clear of banana, melons, and
5. Rinse Out Your Nose
Nasal douching -- using a salt-water solution to wash pollen from your
nostrils and sinuses -- can be very effective at curbing hay fever symptoms. A
quick spritz in each nostril is not enough, experts say.
Use a neti pot or an over-the-counter irrigator, such as those sold under
the brand names Ocean and Ayr.
6. Track Pollen Counts
On days when the pollen count is especially high, stay indoors. For reliable
pollen (and mold spore) counts in your area, go to
If these pollen-avoidance strategies fail to bring relief, medical therapy
may be in order. Nonprescription antihistamines, such Claritin and Zyrtec, are
generally the first choice for mild to moderate symptoms (no need to pay extra
for brand names, as generics cost less and work just as well).
If you’re bothered by congestion as well as sneezing and a runny, itchy
nose, adding a decongestant such as Sudafed should help. There are also
antihistamine-decongestant combinations available. These products generally
include a “D” in the name, as in Tavist D. (If you have high blood pressure,
ask your doctor if taking a decongestant is OK. Some cause a potentially
dangerous rise in blood pressure.)
For severe or persistent symptoms, a steroid nasal spray (Flonase, Nasonex,
and so on) may be helpful. If you’ve developed a sinus infection, a course of
antibiotics might be needed. Another option that works well for some patients
is a leukotriene inhibitor, such as Singulair or Accolate. These medications
block the release of leukotriene to help reduce inflammation and other symptoms
of allergic rhinitis. If symptoms are especially troublesome, you might need
immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Experts say the best approach may be to start treatment early and combine
various therapies Whichever prevention strategies and medications you decide
upon, don’t wait until the last minute to start using them.