When faced with the itchy eyes, running nose and hacking cough that allergies inflict on their hapless victims, the usual reaction is to reach for medication to try to get some relief. But what if the allergy sufferer is a pregnant woman? What’s the best remedy?
Dr. Manisha Purohit, an obstetrician-gynecologist on staff at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, has offered some tips for expectant mothers to ease their allergy symptoms. Among them:
Wash your hands. Everyone touches their face multiple times an hour, so frequent hand washing will help prevent the transfer of dust, pollen, dander, and germs from irritating or contaminating already-sensitive eye or nasal tissue.
Avoid smoke. Cigarette smoke induces allergies, and more importantly, it’s especially bad for the baby.
Use saline spray. This is a great way to clean nostrils, and also helps to prevent allergens blocking the pathway and causing congestion.
Double check medication. Check in with your obstetrician before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, especially those for allergies. Medication typically affects a baby, too. Your obstetrician can help narrow down which medication you can take or even recommend some nasal saline rinses to help tackle symptoms.
Be mindful of household chemicals. Expectant moms have an overwhelming need to nest and provide their baby with a clean environment, but many cleaning products contain elements that can trigger allergic reactions.
Steer clear of pollen. Pollen affects your nasal passages, throat and eyes. When venturing outside, wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes, and remove shoes and outdoor clothing when you get inside.
Avoid dust. As preparing for baby continues, you can avoid stirring up dust by wet mopping, using a HEPA filter, or seeing if a partner or friend can help with the cleaning.
Eat mindfully. Food allergies do not change during pregnancy. Make sure to carefully check labels.
Watch your contact with pets. Dander from cats can be particularly troublesome. Ask family or friends to brush your pets and vacuum or sweep up this dander for you. If you’re especially uncomfortable, you can make at least one room in your home pet-free.