Unexpected culprits causing your allergy flare-ups

spring allergies

If there’s one thing cottagers have in common, it’s our love of spending time outdoors. But that doesn’t mean we love everything about the outdoors. Take spring allergies for example. There’s nothing worse than finally getting the chance to go outside after a long, cold winter and being taken down a peg due to itchy, runny eyes, sneezing, and sniffles. While popping allergy pills or avoiding areas infested with pollen-producing plants can help reduce these symptoms, there are a few simple things you can do to fight back this spring.

Cut back on alcohol consumption

Alcohol—particularly red and white wine—can increase sneezing and running noses. Research suggests that people who suffer from hay fever, asthma, and chronic bronchitis are more susceptible to alcohol-induced nasal flare-ups. So limit your booze intake to prevent discomfort, and save yourself from a hangover at the same time.

Reduce stress

It’s likely no surprise that multiple studies have shown stress can suppress your immune system. This limits your body’s ability to fight allergic reactions that aggravate symptoms. Take this as an excuse to relax—put your feet up, open a good book, and let your day-to-day troubles fade away as you escape into another world.

Keep your windows closed

A rainstorm might seem like a refreshing break after a hot day, but these weather conditions can actually increase your allergy symptoms. Heavy rain and wind can stir up pollen in the air. Resist the temptation of opening the window during a downpour to keep it out of your home.

Clean your humidifier

Dust mites and mould thrive in humidity, exacerbating allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes and runny noses. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends using a dehumidifier to keep your home’s humidity level at about 35 percent. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to keep it from becoming a source of mould.

Avoid certain foods

Certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts can trigger oral allergy syndrome most prominently during pollen season. Watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and a burning of the lips, mouth, and throat are most common for people who suffer from hay fever. Avoid foods associated with ragweed, birch, grass and mugwort pollen including: apples, melons, carrots, celery, and almonds. For a complete list, see the Canada Food Inspection Agency oral allergy syndrome page.

Keep pets off furniture and outdoors (when possible)

Cats and dogs can collect pollen in their fur while playing in the backyard or going for walks, spreading it throughout your home when they come inside. Aside from frequent vacuuming, keep your pets off couches and beds to distance yourself from the pollen that ends up in your home.

De-pollenate yourself

Like your pets, you can also carry pollen indoors after a day outside. To remove pollen from your skin and hair to keep from spreading it around your home, shower when you get home.