Self Care for Allergies
Symptoms of allergies often include:
- Runny nose
- Red, swollen, itchy or watery eyes
- Itching in the roof of the mouth
- Cough or wheezing
- Burning or scratchy throat
- Skin rashes or hives
What causes allergy problems?
Allergy symptoms occur when the body’s defense mechanism mistakes something such as mold, dust, mites, and pollens for something harmful. Symptoms can be controlled with treatments that relieve their effects.
Methods of Prevention (Avoiding allergens)
- Track the daily pollen count and spend times outside when it is lowest (usually in the early morning and late afternoon).
- Keep windows closed and use air conditioning in the house and while driving in the car to keep pollen out.
- Control dust. Dust contains many allergens, pollen, mold, mites, and animal dander.
- Stay away from furry pets as much as possible or at least keep them out of your bedroom.
- Control humidity indoors. Install a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Install an air purification system in your home like a HEPA filter.
- Plan ahead and take allergy medication before allergies symptoms become severe.
- Avoid smoke from cigarettes, wood fires, and smoke-filled environments.
Selected Over-the-Counter Medications to Self Treat
|Drug Class||Generic Name||Sample Brand Names||Action||Possible Side Effects|
|Antihistamines||Diphenhydramine Loratadine Chlor Maleate||Benadryl Claritin Chlor-Trimeton||Treats sneezing, itching, runny nose, nasal congestion, & itchy/watery eyes.||Drowsiness and dry mouth.|
|Decongestants||Pseudoephedrine Pheynlephrine||Sudafed Contac-D||Reduces nasal congestion and sinus pressure.||Restlessness, insomnia, and elevations in blood pressure.|
|Eye drops||Pheniramine maleate 3% and Naphazoline hydrochloride 0.025%||Visine-A||Relieves itchy, red eyes due to environmental allergens|
Self-treatment for allergies besides medications
Avoid allergens. See Methods of Prevention above.
See your health care provider
- If you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- If you experience a sensation of the throat tightening or closing
- If you develop a rash or generalized itching/swelling
- If you develop signs of infection such as fever, discolored nasal discharge, headache, or muscle aches
- If over-the-counter medications fail to relieve your symptoms
- To ask if allergy shots are a choice of treatment for you
Helpful Web Resources
- To track the daily pollen count in your area: www.pollen.com
- To access the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of American: www.aafa.org
- To track the grass pollen, weed pollen, and tree pollen and mold spores, check out www.cnn.com/WEATHER/allergy
- To access additional information about allergies and infectious diseases: hwww.publichealthdegree.com/resources/allergies-and-infectious-diseases/