Top summer allergies and how to treat them
Summer allergies can be miserable. All you want to do is go outside and enjoy the summer, but the sneezing, itching, and stuffy nose make being outside a chore. Be sure you know what symptoms indicate allergies, what might be causing your summer allergies, and how to treat them so you can get back to enjoying the long summer days.
Summer allergy symptoms
Allergies in the summer might be more annoying than in any other season, but the symptoms are the same:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes, nose, or throat
- Red, watery eyes
If your symptoms last 2 weeks or longer, then you’re most likely suffering from allergies and not a cold.
Top summer allergens
Some people may feel like their allergies are worse in the summer, and while that might be true, it may not be because there are more allergens in the air. People tend to spend more time outside in summer, which means there’s more time to be in contact with allergens. That, coupled with summer winds stirring up allergens, could mean that even though there are fewer allergens out there, you’re still suffering just the same.
Summer is an interesting time for allergies. The high pollen offenders of spring like trees and most grasses have come and gone, and the dreaded ragweed allergy season traditionally doesn’t start until August. Most summer allergies come from mold spores that thrive in the warm, humid summer weather or some variations of grasses.
You can fight summer allergies by using medicines, behavioral changes, or a combination of the two.
Common allergy medications
There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications that you can use to treat summer and year-round allergy symptoms. You can most likely take allergy pills and nasal sprays or eye drops at the same time, but some medications can have bad effects if combined. Talk to your doctor before combining medications.
- Antihistamines – such as Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Clarinex (desloratadine),and Xyzal (levocetirizine))
Antihistamines are a tried-and-true method for managing allergy symptoms. Histamines are released when your body has an allergic reaction. Those histamines then bind to receptors on cells in your body. Antihistamines disrupt this binding and help reduce your allergy symptoms. They are often taken orally, and some can make you drowsy, like Benadryl, so be sure to read the instructions before taking the medication.
- Nasal spray – such as Astepro (azelastine), Flonase (fluticasone), Nasonex (mometasone)
Nasal sprays help combat that dreaded nasal congestion that comes with allergies. Steroid nasal sprays like budesonide, fluticasone, and mometasone work well for immediate relief but are best when used consistently for 2 to 4 weeks. Antihistamine nasal sprays, like azelastine, provide a faster response than steroid sprays.
- Eye drops – such as Zaditor (ketotifen) and Pataday (olopatadine)
Eye drops can be a helpful way to manage itchy, red eyes from allergies. Zaditor (ketotifen) or Pataday (olopatadine) is an antihistamine like the pill format but is used to treat allergy symptoms in eyes specifically.
- Other medications – such as Singulair (montelukast)
There are other allergy medications that can help manage symptoms. One example is montelukast, known by the brand name Singulair. Montelukast is used to prevent and treat both asthma and allergies. It works by decreasing nasal congestion and inflammation, which can help improve symptoms of seasonal or year-round allergies.
Other tips on dealing with summer allergies
There are a few ways you can try to minimize the impact allergies have on your summer:
- Use an air purifier and keep windows closed as much as possible to minimize allergens in your home.
- Clean your home regularly, including vacuuming and dusting.
- Watch the air quality reports and try to work your outdoor schedule around days when the mold and pollen counts are low.
- Once you come home from being outside, change your clothes and leave your shoes by the door, or better yet, outside the door. This will help minimize the amount of pollen you bring in your home.
Keep these tips in mind and your summer should be a breeze! To find more information and prescription savings on these allergy medications, please check out perks.optum.com and start saving today!