Winter Allergies: The Do’s and the Do Not’s

You’ve felt it, haven’t you? The runny nose? The chapped lips? The feeling that your skull weighs about the same as a watermelon? You are not alone. Though they may not be as widely discussed as spring allergies, winter allergies are just as common, and unfortunately, can be just as severe. Here are some ways to deal with the crappy symptoms of these allergies before anyone in your first block class starts to seriously suspect that you have COVID.

Keep a mini-pack of tissues in your pocket.

This is an obvious one. Nearly every convenience store sells these packets for less than a dollar per pack. Pop one into your backpack, car, or for all of the times when you don’t have access to a full box.

Use Nasal Spray for short term relief…

You can find these at any drug store. With as little as two sprays per nostril, they will clear out your nose like magic. Look for active ingredients oxymetazoline and pseudoephedrine (you may have to get your parent/guardian or someone with a driver’s license to buy these) to be sure you’re getting the right thing.

… And use a Neti Pot (Sinus Rinse Bottle) for the long run.

Nothing cleans the sinuses and refreshes the mind quite like the doctor approved Neti Pot (or another sinus rinse bottle). Pour distilled water into the cup, mix in the prepackaged saline salt, and microwave on high for around 20 seconds (be careful, distilled water can explode if microwaved for too long) to prepare the pot. Lean your head sideways over the sink and pour the water through the spout into your more elevated nostril. Don’t breathe through your nose. If all goes well, water should slowly begin pouring out of your other nostril, showing that the clearing process was successful.

Sleep with your head propped up or on your side. 

It’s common knowledge to many that sleeping with your head propped instead of laying it down horizontally is a surefire way to ensure your airways remain open through the cycles of sleep.However, those who don’t like to sleep in that position may be surprised to learn that sleeping on your side can achieve a similar effect. When lying on your back, facing the ceiling directly, all of the sludge will stay in your system. Laying on your belly doesn’t work either. Sleeping on your side provides a comfortable middle ground.

Don’t overdo it on chapstick.

Although they are a common symptom of seasonal allergies, having constantly chapped lips during the winter is an experience that we can all share. It can be more than tempting to lather on the lip balm before, during, and after each block, but doing so is counterproductive and will only harm your lips. You should only apply it two to three times a day to help, not hurt, your lips.

Invest in a humidifier.

Dry air is one of the leading causes of a chronic dry throat and cough. Putting even a small humidifier in your bedroom can make a major difference for not only relieving your allergies, but also improving the quality of your sleep. Lets face it: you don’t get enough rest, and placing a humidifier nearby can kill two birds with one stone.

Talk to your doctor.

Don’t be afraid or hesitant to do the right thing for your personal health. If you have awful winter allergies, shrugging them off won’t do you or anyone who has to put up with your repeated sniffling and coughing any good. Reach out to an allergist if you feel you need it.