Spring has sprung and for about 1 in five people, that means facing spring allergy season. For those with type 2 diabetes, spring allergies may require watching out for things that could affect your blood sugar. Discover how spring allergies could lead to raised blood sugar levels and how to prevent it.
- Spring allergies typically cause a runny nose, itching and sneezing. The first impulse is to seek the immediate relief of an OTC or prescription oral medication such as an antihistamine. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American reports about 20 percent of people who use antihistamines become drowsy. If you nap and miss a meal, you could wake up with a low blood sugar. Opt for antihistamines with less of a sedative effect. Additionally, oral decongestants can constrict blood vessels in the body producing effects such as a rise in blood sugar, heightened blood pressure and increased urine retention. Talk to your doctor about side effects and better options that minimize the possibility of blood sugar fluctuations. Also, precaution is required when combining oral decongestants with certain types of antidepressants.
- Those with a persistent stuffy nose may select an OTC or prescription nasal spray. Some of them contain steroids that stimulate the liver to produce more glucose and lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Alternatives include an OTC decongestant or antihistamine nasal spray. Discuss the options with your doctor to find the right one for your allergies that won’t cause blood sugar fluctuations. Use a blood glucose meter system to regularly check your blood sugar levels. Report any highs or lows to your doctor right away.
- Nasal irrigation is an effective way to relieve congestion and the symptoms associated with spring allergies. Options include a saline nasal spray, Neti pots, nose bidets, bulb syringes, pulsatile irrigation systems and squirt bottles. These methods can help flush out mucus and irritants from the nasal passages to help you breathe more comfortably. Nasal strips are other drug-free alternatives that help open the nasal passages for better airflow.
- Spring allergies often come with a cough and a dry, scratchy throat. Cough drops can relieve this uncomfortable feeling. Make sure to check the label and choose a sugar-free brand. Also watch for sugar content in medications, including cough syrups that could cause your blood sugar levels to soar.
- For stuffy noses and watery eyes associated with spring allergies, talk to your doctor about eye drops or nasal sprays that contain Cromolyn Sodium. This ingredient is a mast cell stabilizer that helps prevent the release of histamines during allergic reactions. These sprays should be started before the spring allergy season begins and continued until it ends. Modest improvements are made over several days with full benefits in up to one to two weeks.
- Consider simple ways to beat spring allergies, so you can avoid the triggers that cause them. Shower after you spend time outdoors to remove the pollen from your body and hair. Close your car and home windows to keep pollen out. Filter allergens with an air filter or air conditioner. Get exercise, such as walking and hiking, on damp or rainy days when the pollen is more washed into the ground. Wear diabetic socks and rain boots that fit properly to keep your feet dry and warm.
Spring allergies can be uncomfortable and usually topical products are the most effective; they help without causing your blood sugars to rise. When in doubt, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the best ways to relieve spring allergy symptoms without causing blood sugar fluctuations. Relief is available and it doesn’t have to cause your blood sugar levels to go through the roof.