To get some tips for living through the allergy symptoms that pollen season brings, WebMD talked to Talal Nsouli, MD, who was President Bill Clinton’s personal allergist and has been a consultant to the White House Medical Office ever since. That means if the president, first lady, or anyone in the White House community has a nasal allergy symptom, Nsouli gets a call.
One call Nsouli wants allergy sufferers to make is to an allergist. Getting tested and treated with the right allergy medications can greatly improve your allergy symptoms. Be sure to take all allergy medicines as prescribed and schedule follow-up visits.
Short of staying inside all day during pollen season, how can you minimize allergy symptoms?
If you are outside even for a little while, take a shower and wash your hair when you come back in. Pollen gets in the hair, and when you sit down or lie down on the bed, the pollen gets on the pillow and into the nose and eyes. Showering can prevent a nasal allergy attack. When you’re in the car, keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner.
What’s the best way to allergy-proof your home?
Dust mites are a leading indoor allergen, especially in the bedroom. Use a HEPA filter and avoid feather pillows, down comforters, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Use hypoallergenic pillow and mattress covers that zip up to prevent dust mites from escaping. And no matter how nice it is, keep the windows closed and use the air conditioner during allergy season. Install an allergen-trapping filter in your furnace. Use a damp cloth or a microfiber cloth for dusting – either one will trap dust and not send it up into the air like a dry cloth will. Mold can be a problem in both basements and bathrooms. Get a dehumidifier and keep the humidity around 40% to 50% to prevent the growth of mold. Clean bathrooms with a specific mold-killing product, or with bleach.
Does the pollen count play a role in controlling nasal allergies?
Yes, it’s parallel to the symptoms the patient will experience during the peak nasal allergy season – mild, moderate, or severe. It could be a beautiful day, but if the pollen count is very high and it’s windy, you need to be careful because the exposure to pollen will be really bad. Pollen counts are usually higher in the mornings, so plan outdoor activities for the evening.
How do you prevent nasal allergies from derailing exercise plans?
Plan your bike ride, walk, or run for the evening hours when pollen counts are lower. Or join a health club with a month-to-month payment plan and exercise indoors during nasal allergy season. If you do work out outdoors, be sure to shower when you come in.