How to Make Allergies Better

Whether it’s nonstop sneezing, running eyes and nose or a terrible itching feeling, allergies can put a major cramp in your lifestyle. Food allergies can also affect your life, especially when you have to constantly worry about what you are eating. If you are not severely allergic, however, there are a few ways to make your allergies more tolerable.

Step 1

Find out what you are allergic to–and how allergic you are. The Mayo Clinic recommends having an allergy skin test. The test is used to diagnose conditions such as hay fever, allergic asthma, dermatitis (eczema), and allergies to foods, penicillin and bee stings. Unless you show extreme sensitivity to certain allergens and are at risk of having an extreme allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), you can get a skin test done at any time and any age.

If for some reason you cannot do an allergy skin test (if you have a severe skin disease, for example), your doctor may recommend a blood test–technically called in vitro allergen-specific IgE antibody tests to check for allergies.

Step 2

Try antihistamines. When you have an allergic reaction, your body produces histamines, which causes the itching, sneezing and runny eyes and nose. Antihistamines can reduce the severity of an allergic reaction by blocking the histamine production and these irritating symptoms. Sometimes, antihistamines can also reduce the severity of an itchy rash.

Step 3

Consider using decongestants and eye drops. Along with taking an antihistamine, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends using decongestants and eye drops to help temporarily relieve the symptoms of allergies, including a stuffed nose or itching eyes. Decongestants come in pills, nose sprays and nose drops.

The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests using decongestants sparingly (for no more than three days) to avoid becoming dependent on them, especially the nasal sprays and drops.

Step 4

Use cool damp cloths and a humidifier. Soak a cloth in cool water, (wringing out the excess water so the cloth is damp and cold) and put it over your eyes. Repeat this process four or five times until your eyes no longer itch and burn. The cold water will help reduce inflammation, which will stop the running and itching sensations.

A humidifier at night will help clear your sinuses and improve breathing, but be cautious if you are allergic to dust mites, because humidifiers can make them worse. If you are allergic to dust mites, running a humidifier with some essential oils such as eucalyptus or lavender while you are having an attack can help diminish the intensity of your symptoms without requiring you to take medication.

Whether it's nonstop sneezing