Can we talk about allergies for a minute? I’ve had seasonal allergies for a long time, and for most of my life, I could count on spring being the most challenging time. Don’t get me wrong, all of those blooming flowers and growing plants are beautiful—I just wish they didn’t make me turn into a groggy, red-eyed sneezing machine.
I’ve noticed that over the years, my allergy symptoms have been starting earlier and earlier, and getting worse and worse. Turns out it’s not all in my (very congested) head. Last year, a team of scientists found that man-made climate change is causing pollen seasons to get longer. That lines up with what I’m seeing here in California: the winters are warmer, and certain plants create pollen earlier than they typically used to. That means more watery eyes, more sneezing, more sniffling. Yet another small reason, out of so many, to be part of the fight against climate change.
Everybody is different, but I thought it might help to share a few things that help me get through the worst of my symptoms:
- Run an air purifier. Look for one with a HEPA filter, which filters out more than 99% of dust and pollen. It helps tremendously in clearing the indoor air.
- Check the AQI. The AQI, or air quality index, is exactly what it sounds like. It assigns a number (lower is better) to help you gauge the outdoor air. I also like to check the pollen count to know if it’s a good day for hiking… or staying at home with a good book.
- Shower at night. If I’ve been outside during the day, I take a quick rinse to remove allergens before bed. That way, I’m not sleeping in them for 8 hours. And speaking of bedtime…
- Eat and sleep well. I know that if I’m not getting the right nutrients or a full night of rest, I don’t feel great. When I’m rested and refueled, my allergy symptoms are merely annoying instead of day-ruining.
In doing an online deep dive into allergies, I was surprised to learn that more than 50 million Americans experience seasonal allergies. At least I’m in good company. If you have allergies, have you noticed them changing over time? How do you cope with them and get through the day? Let me know on the Frenshe socials. I’d love to hear from you.