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Written by: Tiffany Balin, MSN, NP-C, ACHPN

As we reach the peak allergy season in our area, consider things you can implement to help combat the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. In Tennessee, allergy season typically starts late February and extends to late November. During this time, we can experience an increase in respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, sneezing, and runny nose. Some interventions at home can help combat these symptoms.

The first thing to consider is environmental modification, or reducing dust mite allergens by washing pillow cases often, vacuuming and dusting daily. In addition, the use of a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) clean air purifier can help remove allergens from the air. Next, cleansing your nasal passages with a Neti-Pot to remove pollens from the nasal cavity can be helpful (please make sure to do this safely- follow package directions). Pollens adhere to our mucus membranes and this helps flush them from our nasal passages. Make sure to plan activities accordingly, such as avoiding early morning exposure to peak pollen counts. Also, resist the temptation to open the windows during high pollen times.

Inflammation in our body can be good, as it is a natural component of the healing process. But inflammation can also worsen allergic reactions.  Allergens, such as pollen, cause inflammation in our nose, eyes, and respiratory pathways. The implementation of an anti-inflammatory diet which consists of fruits (think bright colored berries), vegetables, and high Omega 3s such as nuts and cold-water fish should be considered. Try to avoid processed foods, white sugar and flour, and inflammatory vegetable oils to decrease overall inflammation in the body. Lastly, increase water intake to maintain adequate hydration.

If these recommendations don’t seem to help with your allergy symptoms you may consider a nasal corticosteroid such as fluticasone, and/or an anti-histamine that can be found over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.

Be sure to discuss these options with your healthcare provider.


Check out the resources and reference below for more helpful information.

Christ A, Lauterbach M, Latz E. Western diet and the immune system: an inflammatory connection. Immunity. 2019 Nov 19;51(5):794-811.