Yes my friends it is that time of the year. Humidity has begun to swing to all time highs, and how can Iowa make it more difficult for you to breathe? Why, if you have allergies of course. We seem to have a fun little joke at my expense at home now. I will be getting ready to leave for work and my oldest daughter will simply say; pollen's high. Now she means it in the nicest way possible, I'm sure; probably as a warning for me to use my eye drops and take some allergy medicine. All I hear is, "Get ready! Another day where maybe you can kind of breathe from your mouth... for the whole day." BTW, does anyone else have to keep switching between allergy medicine because they just don't work if you use the same one for too long?

Woman with allergy symptom blowing nose
Photo Credit: Photodjo

I digress though, it is officially allergy season and I'm looking for more tips and tricks to beat the outdoor nose-runs without overdoing it on the anti-histamines (I like to hike, but I hate hiking drowsy). Lately, I have been using a knock-off Allegra D; but I also use Zyrtec, and Claritin like products. I've also used Flonase and other inhalants to clear passage ways, but never found one I liked (they usually dried me up and led to a bloody nose). Lately, my best defense has been making sure my allergy medicine is taken 30 minutes before I leave the house. This way it can start working before "exposure" to the elements. Secondly, washing hands and keeping them away from you eyes, nose, and mouth, prevent you from directly exposing your self to allergens. Thirdly, its a good idea to stay well hydrate and take breaks as needed, especially on high pollen count days.

Lots of other products have allergy uses as well. Neti-pots are fast becoming a mainstream remedy for allergies and stuffed-up sinuses. The treatment involves rinsing your nasal cavity with a saline solution and flushing out allergens (like pollen) and loosening mucus. Eating local honey has been known to carry some anti-allergen properties. Unfortunately, there's little to no scientific evidence to back it up, but honey is tasty, so it may be worth a try. You can make sure your home is running a HEPA filter for better breathing in-doors. A nice steam or shower can open clogged airways, and you can always try essential oils like eucalyptus, different teas, or some super spicy food!

Photo Credit: Serenethos

For now the best way to combat allergens is just to prepare appropriately for each day. If you're looking for information on the pollen levels in your area you can visit here.  Remember, pollen is one of the most common allergens in the United States. Over 67 million people suffer from allergies, and of those 67 million, 81% say they are allergic to pollen. In addition, these high pollen days can be dangerous for individuals that also suffer from asthma. Here is a link to Dubuque's Pollen Count that you can save for your own use.

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