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Seasonal Allergies and OSA

March 3, 2022

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As if fighting to get every moment of sleep wasn’t bad enough, OSA sufferers also have to deal with additional complications like seasonal allergies. There are some ways to relieve the misery, though. Let’s take a look at those ways now. 

Are allergies common for OSA patients?

Yes! 

“More than 50 million Americans have experienced various types of allergies each year.” (AAFA.org)

Seasonal allergies, sometimes called hay fever, are triggered by environmental changes, like pollen spreading and flowers, shrubs, or trees blooming. For that reason, the most common season for people to suffer is Spring (although they can be year-round depending on what you’re allergic to.) 

What Can You Do To Lessen Your Allergies?

There are ways to lessen allergies without relying on medication. Let’s start there! 

  1. Stay indoors when the pollen count is high

You can track pollen count easily (and for free) on weather.com 

If you’re not able to review the pollen count online, you can also take a look out the window and check the wind. If it’s a windy day, you can be sure that pollen is on the move and you’ll be affected. Stay indoors! 

  1. Wear a mask.

I know, none of us want to hear this advice anymore! But pollen is airborne, just like the other thing we’ve been fighting over the last few years! So, that stack of masks that you have built up can still come in handy! If you know you’ll be outside for a while (especially if you’re sitting still), grab a mask and put it to use. 

  1. Wash the clothes you wear outside.

This is not a fun one, but if your allergies are really bad, you should remove the clothes you wear outside and wash them as soon as you get home. This will remove the pollen and stop it from affecting you inside your home. On the same note, don’t hang washing outside to dry during this time. 

Bosch has a lot of additional ideas on removing pollen from your laundry, including avoiding dryer sheets. For that information, click here: https://www.bosch-home.com

Should you take allergy medication when you suffer from OSA?

This is the most important question… to ask your physician. While over-the-counter medication might seem harmless, it can cause drowsiness and any effects that can hinder your sleep is a big problem for sleep apnea patients. 

Here’s what happens when you take allergy meds: 

  • Histamine is blocked

Histamine is the body’s response to allergies. So, when your body receives an allergen, it causes your body to sneeze and your eyes to water in order to remove the allergen from your body. Unfortunately, those symptoms are the miserable part of suffering. So, the medication (also called an antihistamine) blocks that response. 

  • Medications cause drowsiness

Histamine is also produced in the brain where it causes an awake feeling, but the medication blocks that and can cause drowsiness. 

So, when you start to feel the onset of seasonal allergies, reach out to your doctor about possible medications first. And then, follow our suggestions to ease the symptoms. Hopefully, you’ll be enjoying the great weather and beautiful flowers without feeling too rough. 

Need more information about dealing with OSA? Reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram and leave your questions. We love solving sleep apnea problems! 

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