Spring comes slowly to the mountains, but it is finally here – bringing with it a whirlwind of pollen. Word is that this allergy season is worse than usual and that people who don’t normally have sinus and allergy issues are rubbing their eyes, wiping their noses, and taking naps trying to sleep off sinus headaches. Not exactly enjoying the good life…
As someone who suffers not just from seasonal allergies, but every day of my life allergies, I want to share my best tips.
- Take a shower.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but you are covered in pollen. It’s in your hair. It’s in your clothes. After being outdoors, take a quick shower and change. Another shower before bed will set you up for a good night’s sleep and has the added advantage of hydrating your sinuses.
- Wash all your bedding in hot water.
Yes, the sheets, mattress pad, blankets, duvet, allergy covers, and comforter too. I use hot water with a double rinse. You don’t have allergy covers? Get some for your pillows and your mattress. They help protect against dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. They also keep your pillows from getting stained.
- Shut the windows and turn on the AC.
Sleeping with your windows open might be one of life’s little pleasures, but it is not helping you during allergy season. You may want to check your air filters as well. They are probably not as clean as you think they are, at least mine never are. If you need to buy replacements, consider springing for the more expensive HEPA filters. Replace the filters and wipe down the grates. Better yet, get someone else to do it.
- Hydrate your sinuses.
Nasal irrigation is a must. I use my Neti pot daily year-round, and when seasonal problems start, I go to twice daily. If I’m feeling like my sinus issues are sucking the life out of me, I use it 3-4 times a day. Keep it super clean and be sure to use purified water if you have any concerns about the purity of yours. If you use chlorinated water, it may aggravate your sinuses further.
I also keep bottles of saline nasal spray handy – nightstand, purse, car, office, dressing table, bathroom. It’s a good idea to keep tissues and hand sanitizer in those spots as well. You can’t overdose on saline nasal spray so use it regularly throughout the day.
Keep your body well-hydrated as well, especially if you are taking decongestants or antihistamines. Constant sneezing and blowing your nose also dehydrate you. Keep your water bottle handy and make sure you are refilling it throughout the day.
- Steam it up.
A hot bath, long shower or a warm cup of tea or broth can help decrease congestion and soothe your sinuses. Consider getting a warm air humidifier. I have one for my bedroom at home and one for my office. Air-conditioners and heaters are both very drying. If your heating or cooling system is on, so should be your humidifier. Of course, you’re going to clean it regularly, right?
Trust you’ll be feeling better soon — Lynn