Winter is just about to set in. The air is dry and cool and it’s the perfect time to start planning to fight the spring war on seasonal allergies. We hate allergies, they are our enemy. They plague us with watery and itchy eyes, dark circles, sore throat and stuffy or runny nose. Oh how we despise them.
You aren’t alone. About 50 million people suffer from the dreaded seasonal allergy. The pollen or dander induced phenomenon is caused by microscopic particles that we can’t even see with the naked eye. Allergies tend to exacerbate existing medical conditions, including diabetes. While allergies don’t appear to affect blood sugar directly, they can in any case cause the rise and fall of blood glucose to go unnoticed, unchecked, and in many cases the severe steroids used to treat allergies can directly impact blood glucose, skewing monthly results or A1C.
So allergies have unintended consequences. There are lots of good ways to combat allergies that can help prevent a lot of the symptoms associated with them. Let’s go over a few:
- Shut your windows? This one sounds contrary, but the actuality is that contaminants need to interact with you to trigger allergies and it is very hard for them to get into a closed system. With your windows open, you are bypassing any filtration your home may offer and sending all of those allergens directly up your nose. Shut your windows during allergy season.
- Try a natural antihistamine like butterbur extract. Google it, it is one of the more interesting alternative therapy medications to treat allergies.
- Wash, wash, wash! Allergens, once again, must come into contact with you frequently for them to have an effect. Taking a shower more frequently or just washing your hands will help
- Wear a mask. This can help in extreme cases, masks block about 95% of small particles. An n95 respirator is ideal in severe situations.
- Eat healthy, it does the body a world of good and may improve your immune system. It’s a fix all remedy but in our experience fix all remedies rarely fix a thing. Eating health is an exception. Eat fruits and veggies if you experience allergy attacks.
- Use a nasal wash like a Neti pot. These are wonderful little devices that serve to clean allergens out of your nasal passage.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This just makes sense. If you are hacking up a lung you may be dehydrated. Please drink enough fluids!
- Avoid cigarette smoke. If you have allergies, step 1(not 8) is to quit smoking. However, if a significant other smokes, steer clear.
- Know what triggers your allergies – Have a simple allergy test performed by a doctor or pharmacist. These usually consist of 4 small spots of blood placed on blotter paper, which is then sent to a lab and tested for one of several dozen allergens. The results are sent back and sometimes the lab will even sell you custom antihistamines to help you out along the way.
If you are a diabetic, you have to be all the more careful in situations like this. Don’t take for granted that small conditions will affect you exactly as they did when you were a kid. Sometimes these symptoms will become more pronounced with age, and it is ideal to get tested for severe allergic conditions for a number of allergens, medications, pet dander, etc. Take care of your body and take care of yourself and don’t play the helpless victim to allergens this spring. You now have the information you need to combat them head on.