Mar. 14, 2017

Sharing the Journey: Allergy Season

The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.

This month, we asked for your best advice for handling allergy season. Also: scroll down for information regarding the safe use of seasonal allergy medications.

What is your best advice for handling allergy season?

Don't wait until it's too late to get a handle on it. This year I have been super busy with law school, so when I began to develop allergy symptoms I sporadically took my medicine, but did not focus on getting better. I'm now in bed with the flu and bronchitis. As lupus patients, our immune systems cannot "wait," so don't make them wait. Lesson learned for me! — Kayla B.

Allergy season is a time of widespread inflammation for me. After seeing an allergist, I developed a daily regimen to reduce my allergy symptoms. This, in turn, has lowered my overall lupus activity since it cut down on the inflammation in my entire body. My daily regimen consists of an allergy pill, a nasal spray, a nasal rinse or a nasal mist, and throat lozenges as needed. I alter this by decreasing or increasing the amount of medicine I take depending on the time of year. It took me a very long time to find a workable and successful combination of medicines, but now I know what to do when I don't feel well. I also suggest using a Neti Pot daily. Mine not only helps clean out my sinuses, but also prevents my throat from hurting because it reduces post-nasal drip. — Becca M.

My best advice for handling allergy season is to find a good allergy medicine that works the best for YOU. — LaTrease B.

If you asked me this question a year ago, I would not have had an answer. Allergies were not something that I ever had to deal with. Even after my lupus diagnosis, allergies did not plague me. However, it was not until recently, once my nephrologist began to decrease my medication that I noticed my body becoming generally more sensitive to everything. Currently, I pay extremely close attention to any and all bodily changes, whether good or bad. I watch the progression of those changes and if necessary, contact my physician. Recently, I got a terrible rash on my neck and could not figure out the cause. I started to think about what I was doing differently. Initially, I changed my facial wash to an all-natural formula, and to no avail, the rash persisted. I then decided to stop using my new perfume. Once I did, the rash cleared up. The only recommendation during allergy season is to listen to your body. Our bodies tell us everything that we need to know, so don’t ignore the signals, and if necessary, do not wait to contact your physician. With lupus, you have to be proactive.  — Victoria G.

Dry things in the dryer so pollen doesn’t get on clothes, towels and blankets. Keep windows closed and use the AC if possible. Keep vents clean. — Deedra K.

I run a cool mist humidifier at night. — Colleen S.

Using a saline nasal spray can help to cleanse, moisturize and soothe nasal passages; I also use natural tears to cleanse my eyes. — Paulette M.

Know What Seasonal Allergy Medications You Can Safely Take With Lupus:

The use of antihistamines, decongestants and steroids for seasonal allergies generally pose no problems for those with lupus. However, there is a theoretical risk that allergy shots may trigger a lupus flare or cause other complications. Always consult your rheumatologist as well as your allergist and talk to them about what medications are right for you to find seasonal allergy relief.