The much-dreaded allergy season rolls around every February, overstaying its nonexistent welcome until the early summer. During this time, pollen, mold and weeds are at their peak, and varying climates and weather causes these allergens to get picked up and scattered throughout the air, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
To most sufferers, the formula for combating seasonal allergies is a combination of nasal sprays, tissue boxes and over-the-counter medications. But as technology has advanced, so has the knowledge regarding what exactly the root causes of our seasonal allergies are — which has helped to identify and stop sneezing fits before they even happen, according to Health.
Read more: 5 Natural Allergy Relief Methods That Can Decrease Your Symptoms and Your Hate for Spring
For starters, itchy noses and eyes aren't always signs of seasonal allergies, but could actually just be a reaction from mold or dust mite allergies. Since those symptoms can occur year-round, you would need to make lifestyle changes to alleviate their symptoms — such as washing your fabrics more frequently and keeping your home dry — Linda Cox, president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told Health.
If you're currently managing your allergies with medication but find it to be less effective than when you started, consider switching from one allergy medication to another (with a different active ingredient) for at least two weeks, then switch back. Habitually using the same drug — like most allergy medications, as they often require a daily dosage — can cause the body to build up a tolerance within "two to three months," otolaryngologist Daniel Akin told Health. You can also try cutting out the allergy meds completely and instead use just eye drops or nasal sprays for two weeks.
Another major factor in allergies is oral allergy syndrome, which is caused by eating nuts, fruits or vegetables with proteins that are similar to the ones found in pollen. These proteins are often found in apples, tomatoes, bananas and hazelnuts, so adjusting your diet to reduce the intake of such foods may help alleviate your allergy symptoms. Further, eating foods that can lower inflammation in the body can also aid you with your allergy season struggles. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish (especially salmon) and nuts (especially walnuts) can help combat allergy symptoms, according to Health.
If things are really bad, turn to an immunologist for allergy shots. Be warned, however, that it can take a 3-to-5-year commitment of weekly or monthly shots to achieve the full results from such treatments.