Warmer weather means flowers and trees are blooming, but for the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, it also means coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and other symptoms aren’t far behind.
Allergies are an immune reaction to a foreign substance. They can develop after an allergen is ingested, inhaled, injected or touched. About one-quarter (25.7%) of adults suffer from seasonal allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are commonly caused by grass, tree and weed pollens.
When allergies act up, many people reach for medications like antihistamines, decongestants and other over-the-counter medicines for quick, yet temporary, symptom relief. While symptoms may subside, there are side effects to prolonged use of OTC medicines such as dry mouth, drowsiness and blurred vision, among others.
Innovative alternatives, such as allergy immunotherapy, are now available from the convenience of a patient’s home. This treatment offers more effective long-term relief compared to antihistamine pills, which only mask symptoms temporarily. Sublingual immunotherapy is an effective option for people who don’t want the inconvenience or safety risk associated with allergy shots.
“More than 120 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies and their related diseases, making it the most prevalent chronic illness facing our nation,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, Ph.D., J.D., founding CEO of Nectar Life Sciences.
Although seasonal allergies typically affect the nose, eyes, mouth and sinuses, the symptoms and triggers can vary among individuals. While itching in the roof of the mouth, hives and watery eyes are considered classic allergy symptoms, others may resemble signs of illness or infection, such as coughing, sneezing, congestion, body aches, pain or a stuffy or runny nose. If these symptoms persist for a week or two, it is possible you are reacting to seasonal allergens. Conversely, if you experience symptoms throughout the year, they might be caused by common allergens found in homes and workplaces, such as dust, mold or pet dander.
Reduce Outdoor Exposure
The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is by eliminating or reducing exposure to triggers. In the case of seasonal allergies, the primary trigger is typically pollen. This may require staying indoors on dry and windy days or choosing to go outside later in the day when pollen counts are generally lower.
Rainfall helps clear pollen from the air, making rainy or cloudy days ideal for outdoor activities. However, many outdoor activities rely on clear and sunny weather. In such situations, taking additional precautions becomes necessary. Try wearing a face mask while doing outdoor chores like mowing, gardening or pulling weeds, which can stir up allergens.
Promptly remove clothes after being outside and take a bath to rinse off any pollen from the skin and hair. Bringing allergens indoors, especially onto bedding, can worsen symptoms or prolong their duration.
Long-Term Symptom Relief
While allergen avoidance and OTC medications like antihistamines and decongestants can be effective, they may not work for everyone. For those seeking an alternative to antihistamines, allergy immunotherapy offers a viable option.
The concept behind this therapy is to regularly expose the body to the allergen, gradually building immunity and reducing sensitivity, ultimately leading to fewer or even no allergy symptoms.
Sublingual immunotherapy is an innovative form of immunotherapy that is common in Europe and is now available in the U.S. It involves taking two drops per day of a personalized prescription under the tongue to achieve the same long-term relief that allergy shots can provide.
The allergy care platform Nectar offers a comprehensive treatment program that can be conducted from the comfort of a patient’s home. The program begins with an at-home allergy test, which is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified and covers a wide range of indoor and outdoor allergens. After carefully reviewing the test results and taking into account the patient’s clinical history and geographic location, a licensed provider determines the most suitable treatment option.
The personalized prescription is then delivered to the patient every three months. Over time, as the body builds tolerance to the allergens, symptoms generally diminish and fade away.
Keep Indoor Air Clean
To maintain allergen-free indoor spaces, it is advisable to refrain from opening windows in the house or car when pollen counts are high. However, there are other measures you can take to minimize exposure indoors. Using an air conditioner equipped with high-efficiency filters and adhering to regular maintenance schedules for heating and cooling systems are effective strategies.
Additionally, frequent dusting of countertops, shelves and tables is recommended, along with cleaning carpets using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Using a dehumidifier can help maintain dry indoor air and reduce the risk of mold growth. Furthermore, consider installing portable air purifiers with built-in HEPA filters in bedrooms or frequently occupied rooms throughout the home.
To learn more or access online resources that can help you fight allergies, such as the Help Center and Learning Hub, visit MyNectar.com.