Surviving Summer Allergies

Woman with allergies sneezing

Surviving Summer Allergies

While we often think of allergies as a spring phenomenon, summer can be just as challenging for those who suffer from allergies. Warmer weather and circulating pollen from grass, trees, and weeds can bring misery, causing sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy, irritated eyes and throat, and headaches.

As a pharmacist, I am often asked about ways to ease allergy symptoms. Many people cannot take allergy medications due to side effects. Decongestant drugs can cause a racing heart, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and insomnia. Antihistamines, while effective for reducing sneezing and itching, can lead to dry eyes, dry mouth, and constipation.

For natural relief from allergy symptoms, consider these options:

Vick’s Steam Inhaler

This device provides non-medicated relief from cough and sinus congestion. The steam penetrates the nasal, sinus, and throat passages, helping to promote mucus drainage and clear the nasal passages. It also hydrates the airways and relieves sinus pressure. By adding a VapoPad, you can enjoy soothing menthol vapors. The Vick’s Steam Inhaler is convenient, easy to use, and works within 5 to 15 minutes to provide relief.

Soothe Allergy + Dry Eye by Bausch + Lomb

These eye drops offer a significant advantage over other options by addressing both allergies and dry eyes. They contain a natural ingredient called Ectoine, which creates a water barrier that inhibits allergens from reaching the receptors that cause inflammation and irritation. Additionally, the drops contain hyaluronic acid, a clinically proven moisturizer that is naturally present in the structures of a healthy human eye and in the tear film. These drops are preservative-free and safe for use with contact lenses.

Honeywell Air Purifier

Indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Improving your indoor air quality can remove allergens and help you breathe easier. The Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier removes 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns from the air. Select a device suited for the size of your room, close your windows when running your air purifier, and change the filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Honey Lozenges

To soothe a sore throat and help calm a cough, consider honey lozenges. They can lubricate the throat and provide a comforting effect.


Quercetin is an antioxidant found in apples, red grapes, berries, asparagus, and onions, with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. There is some evidence that it can help allergy sufferers. Since it’s difficult to get enough quercetin from diet alone, consider a supplement.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Know your triggers: Identify and understand your allergy triggers so you can take steps to avoid them.
  • Avoid high pollen times: Avoid being outside when pollen counts are high, typically early morning between 5 and 10 am.
  • Wear sunglasses: Shield your eyes from pollen by wearing sunglasses outdoors.
  • Mask up: Wear a mask when gardening, mowing the lawn, or doing outdoor chores.
  • Wash wisely: Shower and wash your hair after cutting grass or doing yard work to remove pollen that may have collected on your hair or clothing. Avoid line-drying clothes outside.

Surviving summer allergies is about being proactive and finding the right combination of remedies and lifestyle adjustments that work for you. Whether through natural remedies, lifestyle changes, or a mix of both, managing your symptoms can lead to a more enjoyable summer. Remember, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or supplement.