The old saying goes April showers bring May flowers, but in New Orleans April showers bring mosquitoes and May flowers bring allergies. New Orleans is often called the eczema, allergy and asthma capital of the United States. We have a unique variety of trees, flowers and bugs that keep our noses runny and our legs itching. I would like to offer advice on how to keep the bugs and allergies at bay this summer.
Apply Insect Repellant: It’s festival season and I know you want to enjoy the outside, so make sure you apply bug repellant to any exposed skin. Avoid getting it in your eyes and mouth or applying it to irritated skin. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using one that contains DEET, an ingredient found in most repellants. Another active ingredient is lemon eucalyptus which should not be used on children under 3 years old. An alternative is a homemade repellant. Pinterest has some simple DIY options.
Don’t Ignore Your Bug Bites: Whenever you first notice you have a bug bite, treat it. The simplest treatment is good ‘ole soap, water and a generic anti-itch cream. Avoid excessive scratching which can lead to a skin infection.
Less is More: There is nothing more seductive to an insect than the sweet smell of your soap or lotion. If you are going to an outdoor event don’t lather on the Bath and Body Works. An unscented lotion is a safer option.
Protect Sensitive Skin: If you are one of the thousands of New Orleanians that suffers from eczema, listen up. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! During the winter you probably used an emollient or body butter but for warmer temps you should consider an unscented lotion or light cream. Natural coconut oil is a great moisturizer and mild sunscreen.
Reset Your Allergies: Most people sneeze and/or get a runny nose as a result of an allergen aka pollen entering their nose. Try irrigating your nasal passages. The process is a like a reset button for your nose. There are several products on the market to choose from. A child-friendly option is a simple saline spray. It is far less intimidating than the Neti Pot. Saline eye drops work in a similar way to help with eye allergies. If you want to prevent allergies all together, talk to your health care provider about starting a daily antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec.
Everyone’s skin and allergies are different so find the treatments that work best for your situation. Often it’s a matter of trial and error. Prevention and consistency is key. Enjoy your summer!
How do you cope with allergies and summer bites? Share your tips!