How to Prevent Hay Fever

Two Parts:Limiting Exposure to AllergensRelieving Hay Fever

Hay fever, which is also called allergic rhinitis, presents with symptoms including a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, congestion, and sinus pressure.[1] It is your body’s reaction to either indoor or outdoor allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander, or dust mites.[2] Hay fever can make anyone feel miserable and affect daily activities, but by taking preventative measures, you may be able to avoid triggers and relieve your symptoms.

Part 1
Limiting Exposure to Allergens

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    Determine your triggers. Most people who suffer from hay fever have specific triggers that cause it to flare up. Figuring out what specific allergen triggers your hay fever can help you avoid them and get proper treatment if necessary.
    • You may be able to determine what your own triggers are. For example, if you experience the symptoms of hay fever after touching an animal or sleeping on feathers, the it is likely one of your triggers. Likewise, if walking through a field of fall foliage makes you sneeze and gives you watery eyes, that could be your trigger. Try to avoid triggers when possible.
    • Your doctor can also perform either a skin prick test or a blood test to determine what your specific triggers are.[3]
    • Many people get hay fever in the spring, but it can occur year round.[4]
    • If you have asthma or eczema, you're more at risk for developing hay fever because of an overreaction of hormones, such as histamine and leukotrienes.[5]
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    Keep pollen and molds at bay. Pollen and molds are one of the primary causes of hay fever. Keeping them at bay in your home and limiting your exposure when may help relieve your hay fever.[6] Some effective ways to reduce your risk of ingesting pollen and mold include:
    • Avoid inhaling molds or pollen when you're outside. For example, ask a friend or family member to rake leaves or mow the lawn. You can also consider wearing a mask during outdoor activities like gardening. You may also choose to hire a lawn service.
    • Stay inside in the mornings as much as possible, as pollen counts are highest at this time.
    • Close your doors and windows during pollen seasons.
    • Dry your laundry inside or use a dryer. Pollen can stick to your laundry when you dry it outdoors.
    • Use an air conditioner in your house and car.
    • Employ allergy-grade filters in your ventilation systems at home and change them on a regular basis. Consider using HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters in your bedroom or in other areas in which you spend a lot of time.
    • Install a dehumidifier in your room, which may also help reduce the amount of pollen and mold to which you’re exposed.
    • Wear a dusk mask when you clean.[7]
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    Eliminate dust mites. Dust mites, which feed on dead skin and saliva, are present in all areas of your home, especially in carpets and bedding. By keeping your home and bedding clean, you may be able to eliminate a significant number of dust mites and help relieve your hay fever. You can help reduce dust mites by:
    • Placing allergy-proof covers on your mattress(es), box springs, and pillows.
    • Washing sheets and blankets in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius).
    • Recent studies have shown that not making your bed may also help keep dust mites at bay.[8]
    • Reducing humidity with an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
    • Vacuuming your home every day or every other day your. Consider placing a HEPA or small particle filter on the vacuum to catch allergens.
    • Removing carpeting in your bedroom if dust mites cause you to have severe hay fever and interrupt your ability to sleep.
    • Spraying insecticide specially-designed for dust mites. Just make sure it is approved for indoor use on carpets, bedding, and furniture.[9]
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    Exterminate and deter cockroaches. Cockroaches can carry allergens with them as they pervade your home. It is also possible to have an allergy to cockroaches.[10] Exterminating them and taking steps to deter their presence may minimize the number of allergens in your home and help control your hay fever.[11] You can help eliminate cockroaches in your home by:
    • Exterminating your house. Although you can buy commercial cockroach treatments, if you are suffering from hay fever, you may want the help of a professional exterminator.
    • Blocking and cracks and crevices that may allow roaches to enter.
    • Clearing dishes and placing all trash in a sealed garbage can. You may also want to take out the trash every day.
    • Store all food, including pet food, in sealed containers.[12]
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    Control pet dander. May people get hay fever from their beloved pets or those of other people. Controlling pet dander in your home and not touching animals when you are not at home may help relieve your hay fever. You can control pet dander in your home by:
    • Keeping pets outside as much as possible.
    • Bathing dogs twice a week, though you should be aware that this could irritate your dog’s skin. There is no evidence that bathing cats can control dander.
    • Keep pets out of your bedroom and off of your bed.
    • Vacuum floors and any carpeting daily.[13]

Part 2
Relieving Hay Fever

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    Use antihistamines. Antihistamines help neutralize allergens and can minimize your hay fever symptoms. There are many different over the counter and prescription antihistamines that can relieve hay fever. Talk to your doctor about which are best for you.[14]
    • You can buy antihistamines over the counter at most pharmacies and in some grocery stores. You may find that loratadine, cetirizine and fexofenadine help control your hay fever best.[15]
    • Your doctor can prescribe an antihistamine nasal spray to help relive hay fever that affects your nose. Ask her about azelastine and olopatadine to help relieve your hay fever.[16]
    • In addition, you can also try antihistamine eye drops, which may relieve the symptoms of hay fever that affect your eyes. You can get these at many pharmacies or your doctor can prescribe stronger versions.[17]
    • Some antihistamines may also help you sleep because they have a sedative effect.[18]
    • You should take antihistamines with food and water to reduce your risk of stomach irritation. You can dose antihistamines in adults every 8-12 hours; take between 1 and 2 mg of the medication at each setting.[19]
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    Inhale nasal corticosteroids. These drugs help prevent and treat inflammation, itching and runny nose caused by hay fever.[20] Consider using nasal corticosteroids to help relieve your hay fever symptoms.[21]
    • Your doctor needs to prescribe most nasal corticosteroids. You may want to ask if medications such as propionate, triamcinolone, mometasone, and budesonide can help your hay fever.[22]
    • Recently, the nasal corticosteroid fluticasone became available over the counter and is available at most pharmacies and even some larger retailers.[23]
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    Ingest oral corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid such as prednisone if you hay fever is especially severe. Follow your doctor’s orders exactly when taking these medications.[24]
    • Oral corticosteroids can have serious side effects when used long term. These include: cataracts, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness.[25]
    • Your doctor might also prescribe prednisone if your hay fever is very severe, but the side effects (such as weight gain and issues with glucose metabolism) can be severe.
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    Take decongestants. If you are suffering from hay fever-related congestion, you may want to take either an over-the-counter or prescription decongestant. These medications can help relieve your hay fever and its uncomfortable symptoms.[26]
    • Decongestants come in liquid, tablet, and nasal sprays.[27]
    • The most common oral decongestant that you can get over the counter is pseudoephedrine.[28]
    • You will need to get a prescription from your doctor for nasal decongestants such as phenylephrine and oxymetazoline.[29]
    • Oral decongestants have a variety of side effects including high or increased blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, and headache.[30]
    • Using nasal decongestants for longer than 2-3 days can make your symptoms worse.[31]
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    Receive allergy shots. If you have very severe hay fever that doesn’t respond to other medications, talk to your doctor about getting allergy shots. Over the course of a few years, they may help significantly relieve or eliminate your hay fever.[32]
    • Studies have found that allergy shots are especially effective at treating hay fever allergens such as cat dander, dust mites, pollen, grass, and weeds.[33]
    • Allergy shots are often called immunotherapy or desensitization therapy.[34]
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    Rinse your sinuses. You can use a squeeze bottle or neti pot to rinse out your sinuses. This may clear allergens from your nose and relieve any congestion.[35]
    • Using sterile water in either the neti pot or squeeze bottle, make a basic saline solution of one teaspoon of salt to one cup of water. Gently pour this into your nasal cavity and let it flow out the opposite nostril.[36]
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    Try herbal remedies. There is some evidence that certain herbal remedies may help prevent seasonal allergies and hay fever. Consider this treatment if you don’t want to take any medications.[37]
    • Butterbur may help relieve your seasonal allergies. However, make sure that if you decide to use butterbur to only purchase products marked “PA-free”, which indicates that potentially hazardous toxic substances are removed from the product.[38]
    • There is also limited evidence that spirulina and tinospora cordifolia may also help relieve hay fever.[39]
    • Although there is no conclusive evidence, some other herbal remedies or supplements such as capsicum, honey, vitamin C and fish oil may help relieve seasonal allergies.[40]
    • You can buy herbal remedies and supplements at most health food stores and some pharmacies.

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Categories: Allergies and Immunization