The calendar says fall is still a few days away, but fall seasonal allergies have already started. Most people love this time of year because of cooler weather and football but for those with allergies to ragweed, this is not good news. We know this time of year is hard for many of our customers and friends.
Ragweed is the most common weeds and is the number one cause of fall hay fever symptoms in the United States, and really flourishes in the Midwestern part of the country. It is usually found in areas such as fields and along roadsides in rural areas, but don’t think it is only found in the country, ragweed also grows in vacant lots in urban areas, or get blown in from other areas.
Just one ragweed plant can produce one billion pollen particles and they are so small and light that the wind can carry them many miles. Ragweed pollen can travel as far as 400 miles via the winds, so you may be affected by ragweed even though it does not grow nearby.
Fighting Fall Allergies with Drugs
Many of our customers seek treatment of their fall allergies by taking an antihistamine (like Allergra, Claritin, Clarinex, Zytec, etc.) and/or a nasal steroid (like Flonase, Nasonex, Nasacort AQ, Rhinocort Aqua, Omnaris, etc.). However, antihistamines produce their own undesirable side-effects such as drowsiness and lack of energy and mental clarity. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure you need to check with your doctor. Certain antihistamines can have negative interactions with certain high blood pressure medications.
Fighting Fall Allergies with Nasal Irrigation
In recent years more customers have been turning to more natural remedies like nasal irrigation or flushing, a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies. The idea is not new. In fact, it dates back over 1,000 years.
Nasal washing or nasal sinus irrigation has been used throughout India and South East Asia for centuries to relieve chronic sinus infections, sinus headaches, and nasal irritation caused by pollen, dust, mold spores, smog, smoke, and other allergens. It has been used in the US for a little over 100 years or so.
Nasal irrigation uses saline - just water & salt - to cleanse the sinuses and accomplishes three things. First, it removes the allergens from the sinus passages. Secondly, you cleaning the cilia microscopic hairs that sweep particles and bacteria from your nose. When allergies are operating in full force these hairs become clogged and cease to function properly. Thirdly, sinus irrigation helps to reduce swelling. The swelling is what causes that nasty “stopped up” feeling. Once the swelling goes down, the built-up mucus is released and you can breathe again.
There is a wide variety of applicators available, nasal wash bottles, Neti pots and nasal irrigation systems.
We have heard from many customers that use nasal wash bottles and neti pots that they don't like the mess. They like the results from nasal irrigation but are tired of cleaning up. In our opinion, their effectiveness is limited because they rely on simple gravity and require the head to be tilted in an awkward and uncomfortable position.
Nasal Irrigation Systems
Nasal sinus irrigation systems like the SinuPulse® Sinus Nasal Irrigation system uses both a gentle pulsating mist spray for soothing moisturizing relief and a more thorough cleansing pulsating rinse to clean and moisturize the sinuses. The SinuPulse treatment is gentle, pleasant, & soothing leaving you feeling clean and fresh.
Most people usually sinus rinse or irrigate once or twice a day but you can do it more often, if necessary. Remember you are using only a saline solution. Unlike drugs, there are no side-effects of doing the sinus rinse.
If you suffer from fall seasonal allergies, postnasal drip or congestion and you don't want to rely on drugs then minimize your exposure to ragweed pollen by taking a few precautions;
- Stay indoors in the early morning when pollen is released and on windy days.
- Monitor pollen counts in your area
- Take a shower to remove pollen from your hair and skin.
- Take your shoes and jackets off immediately upon entering the house.
- Use air conditioning and keep windows at home and in the car shut.
- Vacuum regularly, using a machine with a good HEPA filtration system.
- Turn on your air cleaners
- Wash pets after they have been outside
Fall allergies can make a beautiful time of year totally miserable but by taking care of yourself and watching what and when you do things it can still be a great time of year.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store