Living Well

How to survive allergy season with contact lenses

When you're experiencing the worst of your seasonal allergy symptoms this spring, just imagine how much worse it could be if you were wearing contact lenses! This time of year is especially trying for contact lens wearers, as the American Optometric Association claims more than 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.

Allergy season calls for special tactics that contact lens wearers should practice throughout spring to control their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Before your local pollen count peaks, keep the following tips in mind.

  1. Switch to eyeglasses

During allergy season, contact lenses provide an additional surface for pollen, dust and other allergens to stick to, and they can be like sponges for these particles throughout the spring, reports VeryWell.com. Wearing eyeglasses, even on a part-time basis, can dramatically limit how many allergens your eyes come into contact with and can reduce irritation over the course of allergy season.

  1. Invest in rewetting drops

If you're sticking with your contacts throughout allergy season, investing in rewetting drops or artificial tears is a must. Not only will this help your eyes feel better, but they can also wash out allergens that may be present on the surface of your lenses. Best of all, if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), rewetting drops and other contact lens care products are FSA-eligible!

  1. Boost your cleaning regimen

Allergy season calls for a more rigorous cleaning routine, so make an effort to clean your lenses more often during the spring months to remove any lingering traces of allergens that may be present on the surface of the lenses. Consider full-scale disinfecting solutions for this time of year, and if you wear disposable lenses, replace them more often during the spring months to avoid irritation.

  1. Utilize cold compresses

One of the worst things you can do when experiencing eye irritation is to rub your eyes, as this will make the inflammation worse by spreading the allergens around your eyes. Instead, utilize cold compresses. A cool, damp towel or washcloth can work in a pinch, as well as FSA-eligible eye therapy masks that can be placed in the refrigerator and worn over the eyes when you're experiencing your worst symptoms.

This allergy season, make sure you're prepared by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!

Living Well

How should I prepare for a high pollen count?

Do you have seasonal allergies and do you follow when there is a high pollen count? There are ways to prepare for a high pollen count, and treat allergies!

Do you have seasonal allergies and do you follow when there is a high pollen count? As much as you may rely on cold & allergy medications and other solutions to keep symptoms at bay, the catalyst is a high pollen count for many people. More than 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis, which refers to the physiological response of an individual who inhales an allergen, which results in symptoms in the eyes and nose. If your trigger is pollen, this is known as "hay fever," and it can make your life miserable when pollen counts start to soar.

A pollen count is calculated by measured the concentration of pollen in a certain area during a specific period (usually 24 hours). The measurement utilizes air-sampling devices that collect particles from the air onto a transparent, sticky service. The particles are analyzed under a microscope to measure how many pollen grains are present. The National Weather Service and most local news stations are the best sources of information about pollen counts, but what should you do when high pollen counts arise?

Here are a few tips about preparing for a high pollen count:

Sign up for pollen count alerts

The Weather Channel app is already handy for checking the weather forecast on the go. You may also be able to set up pollen count alerts on your smartphone or other mobile device. Alerts will give you extra time to prepare for high pollen counts.

Keep your home closed

Keeping windows closed prevents the spread of pollen and other allergens throughout your home. You can run the air conditioning instead. This will ensure that your home is as sterile as possible, which can help stop your allergy symptoms in their tracks after a long day contending with them.

Invest in pollen masks

Wearing a pollen mask on days when the pollen counts are particularly high and the air quality is low can keep pollen at bay. Pollen counts are at their highest during the hours of 5 am and 10 am, so wearing a mask during these peak hours can dramatically limit your allergic reactions.

Wash up!

After you come home each day, make an effort to throw your clothes in the laundry machine quickly to remove all traces of pollen and to prevent it from ending up on your home's furnishings. Next, hop in the shower to wash off any pollen that may be lingering on your hair and skin. This is a smart strategy to keep your home as sterile as possible and to avoid re-triggering your symptoms.

Summer can be a trying time for allergy sufferers, but you can be confident on high pollen count days with cold & allergy products from FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible items!