If you suffer from allergies, your symptoms can become more than just annoying; they can exacerbate the breathing difficulties that you already have. Here are some techniques to relieve allergy symptoms so they don’t contribute (or so they contribute less) to your COPD symptoms.
If you do chores outside and you know the pollen count is high, wear a pollen-filtering mask. Better yet, delegate those chores to someone else who won’t be affected by exposure to pollen. If you must do work outside, remove your clothes and change into something else when you come inside, and wash the “outside” clothes before wearing them again.
Don’t hang your laundry outside. Yes, it seems nice to dry your clothes and sheets in the sunshine, but that wet fabric is a great place for pollen to land, and stick.
If you feel deprived by having to avoid the out-of-doors, make a point of going outside after a rain. That’s when the pollen count is lowest.
Don’t Bring the Outside Air In
Watch for pollen counts on your local weather report, and when they rise, be sure to close doors and windows so the pollen doesn’t travel inside. Also, take your allergy medication when you know pollen counts are high, before your symptoms flare up. Finally, make early mornings the time when you definitely do not venture outside. In the early morning, the pollen counts are highest.
Clean Your Indoor Air
Vacuum your floors often. A lot of pollen and other particulates are brought in on shoes and spread throughout the house. Get rid of them with the vacuum, and use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter with it. Similarly, use a portable HEPA filter in your bedroom.
Use air conditioning in your car; this circulates the air inside the vehicle rather than bringing in new air from outside. If you have air conditioning in your house, use that too rather than opening the windows. Use HEPA filters and change or clean them regularly.
Finally, dry your indoor air with a dehumidifier. Dust mites, another irritant that can cause allergy symptoms to flare, thrive in high humidity, so dehumidifying your air can help control them.
Treat Your Symptoms
Use over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms. Oral antihistamines, decongestants, nasal spray, or combinations of these medications can relieve your symptoms and keep your discomfort to a minimum. Or, consider nasal irrigation, using a neti pot or squeeze bottle that you can get at your local pharmacy. Be sure to use distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled water, or water that was passed through a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller. Use water treated the same way to rinse the irrigation device after each use, and then leave it open to air dry.
If Your Symptoms Become More Than A Bother, See Your Doctor
Your doctor may order skin or blood tests to pinpoint which allergens are causing your symptoms. Not only can this identification process help you to avoid those allergens in the future, it also can aid in determining which treatments will be the most effective for you.
Your doctor also may recommend that you receive allergy immunotherapy; a process of regularly exposing you to small amounts of allergen via injections or tablets under the tongue. Over time, these repeated exposures may work to reduce your immune system’s reaction to the substance that’s causing your allergy symptoms.
Information for this article was obtained from a Mayo Clinic article on hay fever entitled “Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud.”