Seasonal allergies can really get you down. Wheezing, sniffling and shortness of breath make allergies a nuisance. But you’re not alone: 1 in 5 Americans — over 60 million people — have been diagnosed with allergies.

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Best of all, allergies don’t have to stop you from living your life. While you’re going to feel the effects of seasonal allergies, you can protect yourself from the symptoms or consequences being worse. From checking daily pollen levels to wearing allergy bracelets, you can prepare for the next round of seasonal allergies.

Know your allergy triggers

First and foremost, it’s important you understand what it is you’re allergic to. For seasonal allergies, the most common reactions will be caused by pollen released from ragweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed, certain grasses, and trees like birch, cedar, and oak.

However, if you’re unsure of what it is you’re allergic to, it might be time to consult a professional allergist. They can conduct tests to learn what allergies you have and provide you with recommendations, based on their findings, to remain healthy when seasonal allergies are at their worst.

Meet with your doctor

While you can move on to seeing an allergist at some point, it’s smart to meet with your primary care physician first. Since they’ll have your complete medical profile, they can provide specific recommendations based on your past health and future health goals.

Furthermore, they can recommend specific allergists in the area whom you could see. They can also provide you with health recommendations and prescriptions for medications, such as antihistamines or steroids, to treat your allergies when they’re especially bad.

Get your medications

Once you meet with your doctor, make sure you have all of your medications in order. Medications used to treat seasonal allergies can include those that are prescribed and others that are over-the-counter. From decongestants to steroids, they can be used when symptoms are first noticed to help alleviate your seasonal allergies.

Get an allergy bracelet

One of the simplest ways to stay safe while seasonal allergies are at their worst is to wear a medical alert bracelet. This everyday wear can be a lifesaver in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

When purchasing an allergy bracelet, you will specify what you want to be engraved on it, often including:

  • Your name
  • An emergency contact name and phone number
  • Your allergies
  • Any medications you’re on
  • Medical treatments to be avoided
  • Your doctor’s name and phone number

The benefit is that you can wear and take your essential medical information with you wherever you go. In the event of a medical emergency brought on by an allergic reaction, strangers and passersby can react accordingly. Most importantly, medical professionals like EMS and ER staff can treat you based on your listed allergies and conditions.

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Reduce any exposures to pollen

Make sure to reduce your exposure to pollen at all times of the year, especially when pollen counts are expected to be at their highest. Some simple ways to avoid interacting with pollen include:

  • Keeping your windows and doors shut, particularly on high-pollen days
  • Wearing sunglasses while outside to reduce allergens interacting with your eyes
  • Outfitting any in-home air conditioners with a high-quality, clean filter
  • Regularly cleaning in-home fans
  • Considering wearing masks on days when pollen is expected to be at its worst

Eat a healthier diet

It might not sound like much, but a healthier diet can help protect you against seasonal allergies. While it’s probably not the be-all, end-all, the natural antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and chemicals can boost your immune system and fight off inflammation common with allergic reactions.

However, be careful of the foods you do eat, as some foods can cause oral allergies you might not expect. These include fruits and other edibles that contain the same proteins found in ragweed, including bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, and zucchinis.

Look for natural remedies

If you don’t want to immediately reach for medicine, it’s recommended that you use natural remedies. These could be found in your kitchen cabinet or fridge. Items include:

  • Chamomile, green or rooibos tea
  • Local honey
  • Vitamin-D rich foods
  • Natural omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

If none of these work, we also recommend seeking some other forms of holistic treatment. Many people rely on acupuncture to relieve their allergies, as it’s been shown to release natural antihistamines throughout the body.

Find a way to de-stress

Stress can make your allergies worse. The downside is a flare-up of your allergies will only make your stress worse. Hence, the cycle continues.

Find ways to de-stress, as it can help alleviate the severity of your allergy symptoms. Try yoga, meditation, going on walks, reading, listening to music, or performing deep breathing exercises.

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Allergies don’t have to get you down

Seasonal allergies will happen, and you’re sure to feel the effects of them. But with proper planning, you can prepare yourself for the season. Protect yourself against allergens this season and breathe a little easier.