HOUSTON (TX) - Allergy sufferers have been going though a rough and early pollen season in Houston the past few weeks. They still have a ways to go before they are in the clear, according to the FOX26 weather team.
At-home remedies can save big money on medication and physician costs. If your usual tricks aren't enough, consider these five at-home strategies which new or lesser-known science suggest could help alleviate some allergy symptoms:
#1: DON'T MAKE THE BED
Doctors at American Family Care (AFC) now suggest not making the bed first thing in the morning.
"Dust mites come off your body when you're sleeping," explained AFC nurse practitioner Julia Menard, "and they do love warm areas, so it makes sense not to make the bed right when you get up."
AFC suggests waiting before making the bed to allow the sheets to cool and dry. Menard encourages allergy suffers to change bed sheets more often during allergy season to avoid sleeping with dust or pollen tracked in from other places.
#2: MIND YOUR PRODUCE
Be aware that some produce like bananas, tomatoes and melons have been known to create cross-reactions, like itchy throats.
"If it doesn't go well with your system, I wouldn't eat it," says Menard. She points out this issue is more often a problem for people with specific allergies, such as latex.
Try keeping a food journal and taking note of when symptoms happen compared to what you recently ate. Remember to wash produce well before consuming.
#3: SKIP THE DISHWASHER
A 2014 Swedish study suggests dishwashing machines keep our bodies from being exposed to a healthy level of germs.
"Particularly in pediatrics, the dishwasher may get your dishes too sterile. In this case some of those germs that we're killing are decreasing our children's immune reactions," explained Menard, who suggests hand washing children's dishes.
#4: CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
A Danish study suggested as little as one extra adult beverage a week increases allergy risks by 3%.
"You may want to see what the effect is if you try cutting it out at least a little bit, as studies show bacteria in yeast may have some effect on allergen properties," said Menard.
Menard said those who have a single drink a day or less are less likely to see the benefit of reducing or eliminating alcohol, but reminds that alcohol use can suppress the immune system and impact the body's ability to handle allergic reactions.
#5: SKIP THE CONTACT LENSES
While some physicians now say contact lenses trap allergens against the eye, others say they block it out. Menard suggests trying a few days without contacts to see if it helps with eye symptoms.
"If you are suffering allergies there is certainly nothing wrong with trying any non-pharmacological method," emphasized Menard.