7 Mistakes People With Seasonal Allergies Make

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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  • Tree, grass, and ragweed pollen can make you miserable if you've got seasonal allergies. All you want is relief from sneezing, congestion and itchy, watery eyes. You certainly don't want simple mistakes to get in the way of breathing easily. However, your habits can affect your symptoms. When and how you take medications matter. So does limiting the time you spend around allergens. You can often ease allergy symptoms if you tackle them the right way. So, don't sneeze and sniffle your way through the seasons. Avoid these common mistakes that people with seasonal allergies make.

  • 1
    Not taking medication early enough.
    Woman taking pill

    Antihistamine medicines help tame allergy symptoms. Nasal steroid sprays also ease a stuffy nose and other allergy symptoms. But waiting to take these medicines after your symptoms have started can be too late. Instead, start taking medications a few weeks before allergy season starts. That will give you the biggest benefit. Also, keep taking them until allergy season has ended and pollen in the air is gone.

  • 2
    Not talking with your doctor about prescription medication.

    Many over-the-counter allergy drugs are available that are good at controlling symptoms. But if your symptoms are severe, your doctor can prescribe medications that offer better relief. There's no need to suffer from severe allergy symptoms. Your doctor might also recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy). Over time, allergy shots help reduce your body's reaction to allergens. You might not always need medication to control allergies after you've had allergy shots. Or, your symptoms might be much less severe.

  • 3
    Bringing allergens into your home.

    When you're outside, pollen sticks to your clothes, hair and skin. Then, you carry it into your home with you. Once inside, it still triggers your symptoms. The fix? Change your clothes and take a shower as soon as you come in from the outdoors during allergy season. Shampoo your hair to wash away pollen. It's also important to keep your windows closed in your home and car. Run your air conditioner instead. Also, fit your vacuum cleaner and your air conditioner with a HEPA filter to help get rid of allergens in your home.

  • 4
    Not using a nasal spray.
    Girl using nasal spray

    Have you heard that you can't use nasal sprays for seasonal allergies because they're addictive and can make your symptoms worse? That's a myth. What's important is what you use and how you use it. Nasal decongestant sprays can worsen symptoms if you take them for more than a few days. That's known as a "rebound" effect. But, nasal steroid sprays can be helpful for seasonal allergies. They're best for people with severe allergies that last throughout allergy season. They help reduce inflammation in the nose. You can take steroid nasal sprays all year long if you have other allergies besides seasonal allergies.

  • 5
    Not rinsing your nose.

    Rinsing your nasal passages is a huge help for seasonal allergy sufferers. You can get a squeeze bottle of saline nasal wash at a drugstore. It's cheap, safe and effective. You can also use a neti-pot with distilled or sterile water. Rinsing your nasal passages helps flush out allergens. It also washes away extra mucus that can build up and cause a stuffy nose.

  • 6
    Heading outdoors when pollen counts are high.
    Mature woman blowing dandelion flower

    It's best to limit how much you're around pollen and other seasonal allergens. That means staying inside as much as possible when pollen counts are high. Check your local weather forecast for the pollen levels in your area. In general, pollen counts are highest during the morning. Pollen counts drop when it rains. But once the rain stops, the pollen levels get very high very quickly. Pollen counts also rise on a windy day. If you must be outside when pollen counts are high, wear a pollen mask.

  • 7
    Ignoring your symptoms.

    It can be tough to tell whether you have a cold or seasonal allergies, but it's possible. Don't just ignore your symptoms and hope they go away. Cold symptoms don't happen on a regular schedule. Allergy symptoms develop at about the same time each year. Cold symptoms usually get better after about 10 days. Allergy symptoms last several weeks. Allergies are common in both the spring and the fall. If you have them, talk with your doctor about the best ways to manage your seasonal allergies.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 20
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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