This year, people all over the country are reporting worse allergy symptoms than ever before. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people. I’ve always had allergies, and they’ve been getting worse for a while. But now they’re baaaad.
Usually, my allergies only bother me in the spring and summer. But this year, they never went away when fall came around. That’s due in large part to the unseasonably warm winter we had this year. The higher-than-normal temperatures meant that flu season came months late, and now it means that pollen counts are sky high. Unfortunately, this might not be a one-time occurrence.
Several recent studies have shown that the Earth’s warming temperature has significantly extended the pollen season. Well, sh*t. Because spring is arriving earlier, pollen is making it into the air sooner, in larger quantities, and staying there for longer. This has lead to huge numbers of people reporting cold and flu symptoms to their doctors, only to find out that they’re experiencing allergies. And scientists are predicting that pollen levels will only continue to rise as the Earth warms.
So what can you do if your allergies are driving you nuts? For most people, over-the counter medications do the trick. The more regularly you take your medicine, the more it will help. But if, like me, over-the-counter pills just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, it might be time to see your doctor. A doctor could prescribe stronger medications, a nasal spray, or even immunotherapy.
But there are a few things you can do on your own to help alleviate allergy symptoms. First of all, as beautiful as it is, try to keep the outdoors out. If you can, leave your windows closed. I don’t have air conditioning, so I have to keep my windows open. It gets way too hot for me to sleep at night if I don’t. But leaving shoes, coats, and sweaters outside can help decrease the amount of pollen you bring home with you. It’s also a good idea to wash your hair before you go to bed. Pollen and other irritants can stick in your hair, and have you sniffling and rubbing your eyes by the time you wake up.
And don’t forget to take care of yourself. The better general health you’re in, the better equipped your body will be to deal with allergies. Stress has also been proven to intensify allergic response, so set aside some time to relax. Good luck! I know I need it.
Garnet is a student at Columbia University in New York City. She is “that person” who starts dancing at a party when everyone else is standing around, and if there were a Facebook stalking Olympics, she would be a gold medalist. She also loves cheesy 90s music, and almost died of happiness when Vanilla Ice retweeted her. Once. Follow her on Twitter @garnethenderson.
[Lead image via Alex Cofaru/Shutterstock]