Living 50 Plus

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Coping with seasonal allergies

The season of allergy-induced sniffles and other complications is right around the corner. If you are one of the millions of people affected by seasonal allergies that lead to nasal swelling, sneezing, watery eyes, and a scratchy throat, you may not be eagerly anticipating the warmer weather as much as others.

Allergy research is ongoing, and in the future doctors may be able to prevent allergic reactions from occurring rather than treating the symptoms that ensue. Until then, you will have to work with the remedies that currently exist. These remedies include antihistamines, which can cause dangerous interactions with other medications and may cause drowsiness. These side effects can be dangerous for use in seniors. Consider these other options instead.

* Drink plenty of fluids. Although liquids can't wash the allergens out of your system, water, juice and clear broths can help loosen congestion. Hot liquids can soothe inflamed membranes in the nose and throat.

* Avoid allergens as much as possible. Check weather reports for the levels of particulates in the air and stay indoors if they are high. Keep away from tall grasses and places with a lot of foliage.

* Use the air conditioning. Rather than keeping the windows wide open, use an air conditioner and dehumidifier to filter the air coming inside of the house and ensuring it is cool and dry.

* Head to the beach. If you want to spend time outdoors, areas by the ocean will have pollen counts that are much lower than in mountainous areas.

* Dry clothes indoors. Line-dried clothes may smell fresh, but they can bring molds and pollens indoors and exacerbate allergies.

* Shower frequently. After being outdoors, take a shower to rinse off any allergens clinging to hair and skin.

* Check with a doctor. Before mixing allergy medications with any prescriptions you are taking, ensure that they are safe to mix. If your doctor is unavailable, consult with a pharmacist about drug interactions.   

Gadsden Times