DALLAS — Spring is in the air and so is pollen.
About 50 million Americans experience various allergies every year. If you have the most trouble between March and September, chances are it's because of tree, grass and weed pollen.
"I’m not about taking tons of medicines, but I think that people who suffer from allergies definitely do better if they’re medicated," said Dr. Amy Shah, who is double board certified in internal medicine and allergy-immunology.
Taking allergy medicine before the season kicks off
Shah's first suggestion is to start taking allergy medicine two weeks before the season kicks off. Also, she said, choose the most natural pills you can find: dye-free and filler-free.
"Like, do you really need the Benadryl with the pink dye," Shah questioned.
"They needed it before because the pharmacist didn’t know one pill from the other, but do we need it with the sweetener and the colors and the fillers?"
Delaying morning outdoor workouts
Next, Shah recommends delaying your early morning outdoor workouts because that is high pollen time.
"Take it indoors if you need to go first thing in the morning," Shah explained.
Alternatively, Shah said, workout and definitely shower at night. Tiny particles that get stuck all over your face, eyes and throat aren't coming to bed with you.
"When you take a shower at night, you’re washing off all of that pollen and then you’re not sleeping eight hours with a bed of pollen on top of you," Shah said.
What you're eating can affect respiratory allergies
Third, what you're eating can affect respiratory allergies.
"Pineapple has bromelain which is an enzyme that’s anti-inflammatory and really great for allergies," Shah said.
Oranges and turmeric also have anti-inflammatory compounds, and onions contain a potent antioxidant that acts as a natural antihistamine.
Skip the happy hour
Finally, skip happy hour.
"Alcohol makes you vasodilate," Shah explained.
That means your blood vessels widen. The more blood flow and fluids rush to your sinus area, the more inflamed and congested you'll feel. So, if you're already fighting a stuffy nose, alcohol will just intensify your symptoms making you feel worse.