Tips for Managing Seasonal Allergies

They’re saying that this is the worst year EVER for allergies . . . 

Yeah, yeah, they say that every year. But this year? OH my word, the allergies. I really think this might actually BE the worst year ever.

My older daughter has a terrible time with spring allergies.

caro

She is allergic to every grass and deciduous tree that grows in the mid-Atlantic region. AND she loves to be outdoors — preferably rolling around in said grass. Fantastic.

It’s a challenge every year, managing her allergies. Not only is she stuffed up and can’t breathe through her nose, her eyes get red and swollen and puffy. It’s a sorry sight.

She sees an allergist every February who arms us with scripts and instructions for trying to combat the Allergy Beast, but it’s an uphill battle. Here’s what we’re doing to try to manage her allergies.

Tips for Managing Seasonal Allergies

1. Keep the windows closed and the pollen out. I know, this is miserable for me, as I love the fresh air. I confess I don’t always do a great job and keeping the house closed up, but we do keep the windows in her room closed and her Airocide air purifier running at all times. (For more info about Airocide, read my review.)

2. Wash hands often. Kids have a habit of touching their eyes constantly, and keeping hands washed should help cut down on bringing the allergens directly into the eyes, which are already irritated. I’m a sucker for a pretty soap dispenser, and Softsoap has this new Decor Collection which is super cute. (Thank you CVS for supplying me with samples to try!)

softsoap

I’m a huge fan of Softsoap because they are one of the only conventional brands I can find that has options without the antibacterial. (Antibacterial soap is really not good for us. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, Google is your friend.)

3. Try a neti pot. This helps clean the gook out of the sinuses. Pretty, right? But it must be done!

4. Essential oils*. I recently signed on with Young Living and I’m experimenting with essential oils for all sorts of ailments. Lemon, lavender and peppermint is the go-to combination for allergies so that’s what we’ve been using. I apply them to her skin directly, and I diffuse them in her room when she goes to bed at night and again when she’s waking up and getting ready in the mornings. It seems to give her some relief, and anything natural that I can do to help her feel better is a win in my book.

oils

5. Wash hair and shower or bathe every night before bed. Our allergist insists on this. Hair harbors tons of allergens and everything else, and my daughter has long curly locks. We have been trying to have her shower off every night, and it seems to help.

6. Allergy Meds. We have had to resort to medication to manage my daughter’s allergies. We start early, before her symptoms even show, and we try to be consistent throughout the season. We have a script for eye drops and nasal spray, but we use OTC antihistamines and decongestants. I’m always one to buy name brands, but CVS sent me some of their store brand products to try, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well they’re working for us.

cvs-allergy-relief

Please note the irony of my photo — I purposefully took it with the offending allergenic grass as a backdrop. Ha! I crack myself up sometimes.

7. Allergy shots. We have not yet resorted to shots, but I wonder if that is our next step. My daughter’s eyes are painful to look at right now. She gamely posed for a photo, and I didn’t have the heart to post it. In fact, I deleted the photos so she wouldn’t see them. She’s terribly self-conscious about how she looks when her eyes get swollen. Instead, I chose to post the gorgeous photo of her above, before her allergies kicked in this season.

8. Patience. This too shall end. That’s what I tell my daughter, anyway. Allergies are so not fun, but at least we know that in a few weeks, it will be over. So at least there’s that!

I’d love to hear your tips for managing seasonal allergies. I’m always looking for new ideas to add to my arsenal.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Images source: Young Living

Comments

  1. Ashley G says

    My daughter and I have oral allergy syndrome and we cannot eat any fresh fruit and vegetables until they have been cooked to death. The pollen on food makes us very sick. She is getting allergy shots and I will have to start as well.

  2. Emily G says

    This is my worst time of year and until a couple of weeks ago, I was staving things off with local raw honey in my tea and Similisan Allergy eye drops. I’ve had to turn to meds the last week or two, but was really happy with the raw honey up until then.

    • says

      My husband has tried that. My daughter isn’t very cooperative about the honey, though. She doesn’t like it. The other thing my husband has done that he thinks helps is to take Apple Cider Vinegar in water. But again, so gross. My daughter won’t do it.

  3. Megan says

    My heart breaks for her. She’s a gorgeous young lady. I’ve had seasonal allergies all my life for about 75% of each year. I hope she gets some relief soon.

  4. says

    Just a little info from our pediatrician. She suggested my daughters take Aller Clear (available at Costco and very reasonably priced) from September until May. We are in NC where we deal with very high pollen counts. Also, just purchased the doTerra oils tonight and am hoping for some relief with those, as well.

  5. says

    I’m sorry your daughter has such bad allergies! My younger son has also been allergic to tree and grass pollen since he was little, and every year it seems to lead to sinus infections. He now takes Zyrtec year round (Costco has the generic Aller-Tec, which is actually what we use). The hardest thing for him is not rolling around in the grass! My friend had great success with her son and the allergy shots. It took about two years but for now he is pretty much allergy free.

  6. says

    Allergies are the worst! I feel for your daughter….my oldest son has them pretty bad as well some years. One word: ALFALFA!!! Not just any alfalfa though, but the high quality stuff. It’s amazing. I use Shaklee’s and my son no longer has to take his allergy meds!

  7. Verda says

    I have been able to completely quit taking the over the counter allergy meds (zyrtec) that I have been taking for years using DoTerra essential oils. I worked for an allergist for 5 years so I was not an easy sell when it came to the essential oils but I must say it has made an amazing difference for me. Peppermint, lavender and orange one drop under the tongue is how I take it, but I would imagine you will need to put it in an vegetable cap for your daughter because the taste is not really great. I also put one drop on my sinus area around the eyes and under my nose to keep the nasal passages open during the night. If she won’t let you put the peppermint on her, and she might not , then get an infuser and put it in her room. If you have any questions just e-mail me or post on your site and I will try to tell you what I know or refer you to my doTerra advisor who is great. I love their products and would be glad to see that you get the introductory pack which is about $20 and will let you see if it is going to help. I had relief within a couple of days and it is amazing.

    • says

      Thanks, Verda. I actually am a wholesaler for Young Living and I’ve been doing lavender/lemon/peppermint in the diffuser and topically around her sinuses and on the back of her neck. She doesn’t seem to get much relief; I wonder if trying it internally would be more effective. I might order some veggie caps and try that.

  8. Tara says

    For seasonal allergies, I know people who go gluten free for the summer and that seems to help alleviate symptoms. I’m sure that would be individual though and you’d need to find out if your daughter has any food sensitivities. And eat local honey.

    • says

      Interesting. I am gluten free, but to get HER to go gluten free would be QUITE a feat. :-) I don’t think she has food sensitivities; she was tested for a ton of things when we did allergy testing. I often wonder about dairy, though. I may have to talk to her doc and see what they say.

  9. Susan says

    My daughter started allergy shots at age 10. She is 24 now and is going through a third round of shots, BUT, she has gotten better with each round of shots. This last one is to target the grasses again. I just wanted to share this so that you might be more comfortable allowing your daughter to try the shots.

  10. Susan says

    Great post…I love the soft soap dispenser and that is a good reminder to shower/wash hair every night!
    Some thoughts though
    -make sure you use distilled/sterilized water with the neti pot. There is a rare but deadly brain amoeba that actually can live in regular tap water. If you drink it you are fine, but if you flush it up your sinus cavity you could be giving it direct access to your brain.
    -Lots of people know about the powers of blocking histamines (one of the culprits in the allergy cascade that makes you so miserable). But lots forget about leukotrienes and using the prescription Singulair can go a long ways towards reducing symptoms. It is generic now too!
    -lots of allergy clinics are now compounding allergy “shots” so you can actually take the same fomulation by mouth. Might be a tad bit more $$$ but soooooo worth it if you have a shot phobic child. Maybe they have an option like this in your town?

    And finally I’ve always wondered…if the purpose of allergy shots is to give you small but controlled bits of the same allergen in order to decrease the overall response to the allergen…..then it stands to reason that letting them play outside and keeping the windows open and just being around it more and more just “might” be the same? Thoughts to ponder…..

  11. Sarah R says

    I had terrible seasonal allergies as a kid too. Once I started working in an office after college, they seemed to have gone away. I guess being inside in the A/C really helped!

    Now that I’m outside more with my kids, I find that my allergies mostly affect my eyes. I get terrible red and puffy eyes. The Visine-A Allergy Relief really helps, almost immediately. I lie down on my back, close my eyes, then put a few drops in my inner eye. When I open my eyes, the drop falls right in.

    Can’t wait to read more about Young Living! We’ve been spraying peppermint oil and rosemary oil in our house to deal with a small ant problem and it really works!

    Your daughter’s picture is so pretty!

  12. cora says

    I’ve had seasonal allergies for years as well. After going gluten free five years ago I have been med free during allergy season every year. I’ve also had success with naturopathic tinctures, which do the same thing as shots, without the shot. You just squirt a couple drops under your tongue and hold it there for as long as you can. It stings a bit, but you get used to it. I start taking the tinctures around February through allergy season and that seems to do the trick. This year because the season was so bad I was having more trouble and at the suggestion of a friend I added a tincture of nettles. You put the nettles in a little bit of water and drink it. It has a sweet herbal taste.

    Good luck to you and your daughter, suffering through allergy season is so painful. Thankfully it’s almost over.

  13. says

    Thanks Jo-Lynne for your article.

    It’s obviously the worst year ever. Never before I’ve had bigger problems with grass, pollen and such things.

    But this year I had huge problems starting in February and lasting until approximately last week (mid of May). Right now I’ve the impression as if most of the very problematic pollen flight has come near to an end this year.

    The question is why is it such a problem this year besides some weather phenomenons like the rather dry and warm days since February.

    Kind regards, Göran

    p.s. Our CoDIRECT page is under construction at the moment and will be officially released at 06/06/2014. So don’t be afraid when finding not so much published content there at the moment.

  14. Togapiggy says

    Eat the local bee pollen. Allergies happen because for some reason your body didnt develop the appropriate antihistamines. Eating local bee pollen will slowly teach your body to work the way it should. This method takes time, but over time, allergies will be but a minor nucance

  15. Anouk says

    Dear Jo-Lynne,

    This might be helpful for you and your daughter.
    Freeing the nose with a breathing technique:
    When you breath you have regular “up and down”-curve (breathing in = up and brathing out = down). Breath out as usual and hold your breath until you get a strong desire to breath again. Don’t breath in through the mouth and try to breath as calm as you can manage to. You may have to repeat this two or three times and then your nose should be free (or much better). If you excercise this on a regular basis the effect will last longer. It is important to do this excercise at the “down” of the breathing curve not at the “up”.
    You can find further information on healthy breathing on this website http://www.normalbreathing.com/. It helped me a lot (also with my hay fever) and I’m already feeling better in many ways.
    My best wishes

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