Shut Out Breezes
Keeping indoor air free of your allergy triggers can help ease nasal symptoms. Installing special air filters in your furnace and air conditioning systems can remove 90% to 95% of particles from your indoor air. Closing doors and windows when outdoor pollen counts are high also can help keep pollen and other outdoor allergens out of your home.
Wash Away Allergens
Each time you walk into your home, you bring small pieces of the outside world with you. After being outdoors, your clothes, shoes, hair, and skin are covered with tiny particles from everywhere you’ve been. Taking a shower and changing your clothes will help wash away any allergens. Leaving your shoes at the door will help keep you from tracking allergens through your home.
Wear a Mask
A mask can prevent allergens from getting into your airways when you can’t avoid certain allergy triggers, like when you’re mowing, raking, or vacuuming. An N95 respirator mask — available at most drugstores and medical supply stores — will block 95% of small particles, such as pollen and other allergens.
Eat a Healthy Diet
One study found that children who ate a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts — particularly grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes — had fewer allergy symptoms. Researchers are still trying to figure out the connection between diet and nasal allergies, but eating a healthy diet is known to do the body a world of good in general. Try adding at least one fresh fruit and vegetable to every meal.
Use a Nasal Rinse
A nasal rinse cleans mucus from your nose and can help relieve nasal allergy symptoms. It also can rinse away bacteria, thin mucus, and help decrease postnasal drip. Buy a rinse kit or make one using a neti pot or a nasal bulb. Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt with a pinch of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm distilled or sterilized water. Leaning over a sink, gently flush one nostril at a time.
Drink More Fluids
If you’re feeling congested or have postnasal drip from your allergies, try drinking more water, juice, or other fluids. Drinking extra liquid can help thin the mucus in your nasal passages and may give you some relief. Hot fluids — such as teas, broth, or soup — may be especially soothing because they add the benefits of steam.
Learn How to Clean Safely
Keeping your home clean is one of the best ways to avoid indoor allergens. But cleaning with harsh chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and aggravate your allergy symptoms. Try cleaning with ordinary household products like vinegar or baking soda. And use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to trap allergens. If your allergies are severe, consider having someone else do the cleaning.
Try Some Steam
Inhaling steam is a simple way to relieve nasal congestion and can ease breathing when you have allergies. Sit over a hot bowl or sink full of water and place a towel over your head to trap the steam. Or sit in the bathroom with a hot shower running. Use steam several times a day to relieve symptoms.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke, Other Fumes
Cigarette smoke can aggravate your allergy symptoms, worsening your running, itchy, stuffy nose and watery eyes. If you smoke, quit, and ask others in your household to stop smoking, too. Try to avoid places where people smoke, opting for smoke-free restaurants, nightclubs, and hotel rooms. Avoid other fumes that can worsen symptoms, like aerosol sprays and smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.
Acupuncture may offer some relief to people who have allergies. It hasn’t been widely studied, and the way it affects allergic rhinitis is still unclear. But a few studies have shown that acupuncture may help reduce nasal allergies. If you want to try acupuncture, talk to your doctor about whether it might help your allergies.
Know Your Triggers
It may sound simple, but to avoid your triggers, you first need to know what they are. “I’ve heard of people getting rid of their beloved pet and then learning the pet wasn’t causing the allergy,” says Louisville pediatric allergist James Sublett, MD. Make an appointment with an allergist for an allergy skin test to help pinpoint your triggers.