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Q: What is hay fever, and how can I relieve its symptoms?

Posted March 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Spring is around the corner and so is your hay fever. The usual symptoms of hay fever include the following: sneezing, runny nose (with clear discharge) or congested (stuffy) nose, postnasal drip, sensation of plugged ear or ears, watery/bloodshot eyes, fatigue and trouble sleeping.

Hay fever does not always require medical treatment. These are a couple of home treatments you can try. Gargle with warm salt water, one to two tablespoons of table salt in eight ounces of warm water, to soothe a mildly sore throat. Take a nonprescription over-the-counter Benadryl to relieve your symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and itchy throat and eyes. Benadryl can make our drowsy, so be cautious driving a car or operating machinery.

If you have a stuffy nose, a combination of an antihistamine and a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Actifed) may work better for you.

You can’t prevent hay fever altogether, but you can learn to cope with it. Following the treatment recommendations of your health care provider is of utmost importance and also completing your medications. Use air conditioning and limit outside exposure during hay fever season. Allergy shots my help to reduce your severity of your symptoms. Help yourself keep the hay fever at bay by ridding your house of mold and other allergens.

Information provided by Tami Dickeson, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.

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