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How to Survive Pollen Season

How to Survive Pollen Season
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

As much as people look forward to springtime and the impending warm weather of summer, there is a lot of discomfort associated with the blooming flowing and growing grass. Seasonal allergies affect around 50 million Americans each year, and the symptoms can leave you feeling miserable. Allergies occur when a substance enters the body that causes an overreaction of the immune system. In the springtime, pollen is the number one culprit, though indoor allergies to dust, pet dander, or dust mites occur throughout the year. Allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, and swelling or itching of the eyes, sinus cavities, or the roof of the mouth. Rather than stay miserable and barricaded indoors, try these ways to find some allergy relief.

Clean Out Your Nose

By removing irritants from your nose, you can reduce the severity of your body’s response to pollen or other allergens. Though many have tried a commercial saline nasal spray, this won’t actually clean out the nose completely and doesn’t fully irrigate the nose. A saltwater nose rinse is the best natural option for clearing the passageway.

Try an OTC Medication

As the prevalence of seasonal allergies has grown, pharmaceutical companies have begun to release antihistamines to the general public without the need for a prescription. Two of the most common OTC medications are Zyrtec and Claritin. Both drugs work by blocking the histamines in the body, the substance that causes the symptoms of watery eyes, itching, runny nose, and sneezing. While Benadryl is another form of an OTC antihistamine, this medication tends to produce side effects of drowsiness and dizziness. More individuals have had success with Zyrtec and Claritin as long-term solutions to allergy reactions without the negative side effects. Unfortunately, continued use of an antihistamine can cause problems with men's sexual health. The medication that blocks histamines also blocks erections, potentially leading to temporary conditions of ED. You may find that you need to use Mt. Everest to help maintain erections while taking an antihistamine. There are times when an OTC won’t work for your allergy problem, but doctors are able to prescribe stronger options such as Xyzal or Allegra.

Use a Decongestant

An antihistamine blocks the works of the reactive substance, but a decongestant works to help clear out the congestion. There are many of these can be purchased without a prescription, but you may need to look for it at the pharmacy counter. Because many decongestants are created pseudoephedrine, the substance used to make methamphetamine, the federal government now requires a valid ID to purchase medication with the compound. You may find a brand on the floor that has phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine, but it is debatable concerning the effectiveness. You can find nasal sprays with decongestants in them, but you shouldn’t use these for longer than three days in a row. Too much use can cause the blood vessels in the nose to constrict.

Ask for Prescription Sprays or Drops

If your allergic reaction is particularly bothersome to your nose, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription steroid nose spray like Nasonex or Flonase. These can reduce the swelling you experience, opening your nasal passages, and making it easier to breathe. These work like oral antihistamines but deliver the compound to block the histamines directly into the nose. Itching and watery eyes can also be severe in some allergy sufferers, but drops like Optivar, Patanol, or Pataday can be prescribed by a doctor to soothe the eyes. The eyes can get so bad that allergic conjunctivitis develops.

Use Your Air Conditioning

It may be tempting to open the windows and let in the cool spring breeze, but with pollen counts high during the next few months, you are better off running your air conditioner or a fan. Those that live close to forests, fields, or have landscaping with flowering trees are more likely to increase the severity of their symptoms. Even though the night breeze may be refreshing while you sleep, you are spending the night breathing in oak, pine, or floral pollens and worsening the problem. Treating symptoms during the day won’t be as effective when you are spending hours at night creating an allergic reaction. Make sure you have clean air filters in the house, as they also trap allergens and dust that could create reactions.

Clean Early in the Season

One thing you try to avoid is spring cleaning during the peak of allergy season. Though you want to get your house or garage in order, cleaning after everything has been dusted with a fine pollen can make symptoms worse. You should clean before the season starts, and though you may look a little funny, wear a mask when you clean to reduce inhaling the pollens.


These helpful tips can keep you from stumbling around during allergy season with blurred vision and a runny nose. Check with your physician if your symptoms persist even with the use of OTC medications.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.