Allergy Overload

Fall foliage and autumn breezes may be cranking up your sneeze factor, but also consider how these secondary triggers can aggravate allergies…

  • A drink: Studies indicate the histamines in alcohol can set off sniffles, especially in women. Swedish researchers found that allergies were worse in participants after they’d had a drink, while a Danish study concluded that 2 a day increased risk of developing nonseasonal allergies by 78%. If symptoms are acting up, scale back.
  • Houseplants: Pollen from outdoor blossoms and weeds may be the primary cause of your hay fever, but few people know that indoor plants can prompt symptoms. If you’re prone to itchy eyes during spring and fall, consider removing them — especially ficus, orchid, fern, yucca, palm, and ivy varieties, which research suggests have a higher irritation factor.
  • Stress: Big exam? Deadline at work? Family drama? Stress doesn’t just raise your blood pressure and lower your immunity, it can spike sneezes. A study out of Ohio State University College of Medicine found that stress hormones kick up IgE levels — the blood protein responsible for your body’s allergic response. Treat your allergies like you would an illness — rest, reduce tension, and relax.

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