5 weird things that make seasonal allergies worse

Although these allergies may pop up at various times, some things you least expect might actually be aggravating them, making them worse.

Most of us can't stand cold, or dust, or heat or sand flies.... the list is endless.

So Keep your runny nose, itchy eyes, and sniffles in check by minding these little things during allergy season.

Try staying sneeze proof

Talk to any allergy sufferer and they will agree it's never fun. Your goal is to minimize your reactions as much as possible, but you may not realize that seemingly harmless daily habits or things in your environment could make your symptoms even worse.

To keep them in check this season, learn what common culprits are not your friends when it comes to allergies.

Produce with pollen-like protein

If you're sneezing and sniffling, you could also have a problem eating some fruits and veggies. It's called oral-allergy syndrome(OAS), and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates up to a third of pollen allergy patients may be affected.

You can blame a protein found on the surface of some raw produce, including apples, tomatoes, and cantaloupe, though each pollen allergy has its own set of trigger foods.

"Pollen and food proteins are like first cousins," says Cliff Bassett, MD, founder of Allergy and Asthma Care in New York City. "So your body thinks you're swallowing pollen."

This usually leads to bothersome symptoms, like an itchy throat and mouth as well as cough. Peeling produce may help to reduce your reaction, Dr. Bassett says. Even cooking the produce may help. Research shows about 2% of people with OAS have symptoms than can progress to potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shock, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Contact lenses

When the pollen counts get bad, you may want to stick to wearing your glasses.

"If you trap pollen in your eyes and it stays there, you may experience more problems," says David Rosenstreich, MD, director of Allergy and Immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.

Soft contact lenses especially are prone to absorbing airborne irritants, like pollen or smoke, because they're permeable. A soft lens lets more oxygen through but can absorb anything in the tears, says Steven Shanbom, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist out of metro Detroit.

If you're set on wearing contacts and don't like hard lenses, you may want to look into disposable ones you can throw out daily to prevent pollen buildup.


Stress leaves you on edge and more prone to sniffles. A recent study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology tracked the stress levels of 179 people with hay fever.

Over two 14-day periods, Ohio State University researchers found that 64% who reported higher stress levels also experienced more than four flare-ups. The good news is there's an easy solution to this allergy trigger; chill out.

Whether it's meditation or getting some shut-eye, find things to help you relax so your symptoms are more bearable. "When you don't feel well and you're anxious, that's when your symptoms tend to be worse," Dr. Rosenstreich says.


Alcohol, and red wine in particular, can make allergies go haywire.

"Some people are very sensitive to the sulfites, and it makes their allergies a lot worse," Dr. Rosenstreich says. These compounds occur naturally in both beer and wine.

A Danish study inClinical & Experimental Allergy found that women who had more than 14 drinks a week were 78% more likely to develop a perpetually stuffy nose compared to women who drank less.


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