The days are warming and the flowers are blooming. You know what that means: It’s time for spring allergies. And it may sound crazy, but you could be inadvertently making things worse! Here are a few little known things that could be making you extra miserable this spring.
- Stressing out. Studies show high levels of stress are associated with allergy attacks. So whether you need to meditate, schedule weekly massages or rebalance your workload, find a way to loosen up.
- Eating fruit. Spring and juicy fruit seem to go together, but 1 in 3 people with seasonal allergies also have oral allergy syndrome, in which the proteins in some raw fruits and veggies can make your mouth itch and your eyes water. Allergic to grass? You might have issues with peaches, tomatoes and potatoes. If you’re allergic to alder or birch trees, you could react to apples, cherries and celery.
- Showering in the morning. From your hair to your clothes to your shoes, you pick up pollen as you move throughout your day, and wearing your outside clothes in your house just drags it all into your home. Change your clothes and take a shower when you get home to avoid breathing in that pollen while you sleep.
- Opening the windows. Whether you’re in the car or at home, throwing open the windows invites pollen right into your (itchy) nose. Use the air conditioner whenever possible; recirculate the air in your car and use an allergen filter in your home.
- Wearing contacts. They aren’t just irritating your eyes—soft contact lenses actually absorb pollen, which means they can trap it right on your eyes. You might want to pull out your frames until the season is over. Can’t part with your contacts? Use daily disposables.
- Waiting to take your meds. The sooner you start your over-the-counter allergy medication, the more effective it will be. Don’t wait until you’re already miserable to pop your first pill of the season; take one as soon as you see the flowers start to bloom.
- Having a plant. You probably know it’s counterproductive to buy cut flowers, but studies show about 75 percent of hay fever sufferers are also allergic to some houseplants. It might pay to leave the greenery outside, particularly ficus, ivy, palms, ferns and orchids.