Your job is going great. Your colleagues are personable, your customers are satisfied, and you're making progress along your career path. Then BAM – hay fever season arrives and everything that's hunky-dory turns into misery. It may only last a few weeks, but the stuffed-up, sniffling, nose-running discomfort that accompanies allergy season makes it feel like everything you do is a difficult chore. Even though nothing has changed in the workplace, your confidence can take a hit when you're coping with itchy eyes and a runny nose. It doesn't help that the hay fever symptoms linger 24 hours a day making it difficult to get a good night's rest.
As tempting as it sounds to hunker down at home until the pollen count drops and you're feeling all better again, that approach, of course, simply isn't practical if you want to stay in good standing at your workplace. Instead, take a pro-active approach to conquering the hay fever blues with tactics that make you look, feel and perform better on the job.
Know What Your Nose Needs First
The first sign hay fever season has arrived is the itchy, sneeze-inducing tickle in your nose. This is your signal to contact your doctor for a prescription or buy an over-the-counter bottle of fluticasone nasal spray. The sooner you start treating the runny-nose symptom, the sooner you'll begin experiencing relief.
Wait – slow down a minute before you start squirting the bottle's contents in your nostrils. Read the directions first for best results. You'll need to prime the nasal spray container before the first use so you're not just blowing air in your nose. You'll also need to follow the dosage instructions carefully – overdoing it won't help, and could even cause further inflammation and discomfort.
TIP: While you're at the pharmacy picking up the nasal spray, stock up on small packets of super-soft tissues that you can tuck in your purse and briefcase. The nasal spray will reduce symptoms, but not eliminate all sniffles – and you don't want to rub your nose red using scratchy tissue.
Taking Care of Your Eyes
Hay fever allergies can quickly make your eyes scratchy and bloodshot. Besides being very uncomfortable, this condition can wreak havoc on your professional appearance. Take charge of the situation promptly with these tactics.
- Arm yourself with gentle, anti-inflammatory eye drops. Use the drops first thing in the morning and as needed during the day.
- Adjust your make-up routine if you wear makeup. Go for a lighter, natural look around your eyes with hypo-allergenic concealer and waterproof mascara. Balance the look with lighter shades of lipstick and blush.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. Instead, dab away moisture and tears with a soft tissue.
- Apply an ice pack over your eyes, briefly, to reduce swelling.
Practice Radical Self Care
You're likely to feel sluggish and weary when your body is fighting the allergens that invade during hay fever season. Staying on top of things on the job can use up your energy fast. Adopt a strategy to give your overall heath a boost and conserve your energy for the workplace by:
- going to bed early for a well-rested start in the morning
- eliminating dairy foods that can cause increased mucous in your already-stressed nasal passages
- giving yourself permission to cut back on extracurricular activities outside the workplace
- treating yourself to a soothing cup of herbal tea instead of a cocktail or coffee
- taking warm showers to ease stress, muscle aches and clear the sinuses.
If your symptoms during hay fever season become more severe than you've experienced in previous years, or if they persist longer than usual, get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Additional medical attention can be a valuable tool in your arsenal of tools to weather the condition and keep in the game at work.