Spring has sprung which means that the flowers and trees are blooming and the pollen is increasing. Spring also means allergy season is here. Allergies are a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. They occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to what is normally a harmless substance. They are able to irritate 4 of the 5 senses – smell, sight, taste and touch and can cause inflammation, disability and in severe cases, even death. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you suffer from seasonal or year round allergies, it’s a great idea to have an allergy relief kit at hand to help relieve those irritating allergic reactions.
DIY Allergy Relief Kit
1. Skin Creams and Lotions
Allergic skin reactions consist of itchy skin, hives and rashes. The best treatments for skin reactions to keep around are small tubes of moisturizer and hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid treatment that reduces inflammation and lotion helps to further soothe dryness and itchiness.
2. Injectable Epinephrine
It is extremely important to have injectable epinephrine (EpiPen/Twinject) in your kit if you’re at risk for severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. Those that suffer from severe allergic reactions will experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the bronchial airways and a drop in blood pressure. These symptoms need to be treated immediately or they can be life threatening. Injectable epinephrine can reduce and even stop the life-threatening allergic reactions to certain foods, medications, or insect stings.
3. Eye Drops
Itchy, watery, red or swollen eyes are on the list of most irritating and frustrating of all the allergic reactions. Allergy eye drops reduce histamine in the eye tissues. Over the Counter (OTC) antihistamine drops are extremely effective in reducing or even eliminating allergic eye symptoms such as itchiness, redness, wateriness and puffy, swollen eyes. There are also drops for red eyes (decongestant drops) that may also sometimes contain antihistamines.
If your allergies have you stuffed up and congested then a decongestant is a must for your kit. Some allergens may cause the nasal tissue to swell during a reaction and decongestants relieve this swelling, counteracting the allergic response.
5. Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are a must if your nose feels dry during allergy season. There are two types: saline and decongestant. A decongestant nasal spray shrinks the blood vessels inside your nose. Saline nasal sprays, on the other had, adds moisture to your nose. Decongestant nose sprays (such as Afrin) should not be used for more than a few days, as they can lead to worsening of your symptoms and even chronic nasal congestion.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl and Claritin, small pills available over-the-counter, may provide quick relief for allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, eye irritation, itching, and hives. Immune systems produce a substance called “histamine” within allergy sufferers that, when exposed to the allergen, block this substance. Be aware that the majority of OTC antihistamines may cause drowsiness, especially if they’re combined with alcohol.
7. Medical Information
If you have allergies so severe they are life threatening consider wearing a medical alert bracelet. For those with less severe allergies, include a medical information card in your DIY Allergy Relief Kit that includes your type of allergies, emergency contact information, insurance information and your doctor’s name and phone number.
Allergies can cause asthma attacks in those who suffer from asthma. Your allergy kit should include an inhaler if you are prone to asthma attacks or bronchospasms.
Natural Allergy Relievers
If you prefer try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into and add the following to your DIY allergy relief kit:
- Raw, Local Honey
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Stinging nettle
- Neti Pot
- Essential Oils
Additionally, the following lifestyle changes can also bring extra allergy relief to sufferers.
- Wash clothes and bedding once a week
- Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin or in your hair
- Wipe your pets down before they come inside
- Watch the pollen count and limit your exposure on days when it’s high
- Keep windows shut to reduce the amount of pollen that gets inside
Once your DIY Allergy Relief Kit is complete, go over the contents with your doctor to make sure you didn’t forget anything important. The kit should be small enough to carry with you in your purse or briefcase so that it can always be with you. Making multiple kits is also a good idea so you can keep one at home, one at work and one in the car. Be sure to check the items in your kit once a year to remove/replace expired or missing medication. –
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