Over 67 million American suffer from allergies every day, but allergies shouldn’t control your life, especially in Spring. This weekend, Spring will have officially sprung, and it seems like no matter what we do, we can’t seem to dodge the allergies that come with this seasonal change.
If you suffer from a pollen allergy, you are probably pretty familiar with the itchy, watery eyes, runny now, scratchy throat and irritability that comes with it. A pollen allergy applies to those who have had an allergic reaction to the fine pollen powder. This allergy is referred to as hay fever and can affect you all year round. Nasal allergies can also interfere with everyday life in terms of getting enough rest or causing fatigue.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include watery eyes, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, hives, headaches and asthma. The good news is, if you better understand the pollens you are allergic to, the better you will be able to combat your allergies.
- Track your symptoms. The first step to combat allergy symptoms is to track them. Know what triggers your reactions and when they occur.You could be allergic to dust mites, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, or something else. A few types of plants known to cause allergies can include:
- Trees such as Birch, Alder, Cedar, Willow, and Olive. Tree allergies usually appear in February when tree start to bloom again, and peak in the spring.
- Grasses such as Ryegrass and Timothy. Grass allergies tend to appear as spring rolls around and will continue until late summer. Grasses as whole are problematic for allergy sufferers. If you mow it, you pick up the mold as well as the pollen. Be sure to wear a mask and sunglasses when mowing your lawn this season.
- Weeds such as Ragweed, Nettle, Tumbleweed, Mugwort, Goosefoot and Sorrel. Weed allergies tend to be the worst in the fall and can be found in fields, riverbanks, roadsides and rural areas. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 75% of Americans who have plant allergies are sensitive to ragweed.
2. Recognize weather patterns. Recognize how weather patterns affect pollen counts. Rain can reduce the pollen count in the air by washing pollen away while dry, windy conditions well spread pollen quickly, producing higher pollen counts in the air.
3. Limit your exposure to allergens. Once you can identify what is causing your allergies and when they will heighten, try to avoid them as much as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day, but limit your exposure to allergens for safe measures. These simple strategies will help you keep the stuffiness and sneezing at bay.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Your shoes will quickly bring allergens into your home and embed them in your carpets. As soon as you get home, take your shoes off so you don’t track unwanted elements into your home.
- Keep your nose clean. Don’t let a small tickle turn into nasal congestion or mucus buildup. Keep your nasal cavity clean and clear. Try a saline sinus rinse or nasal spray.
- Take a shower before bed. Even if you don’t feel it, your body has picked up pollen, dust and more from everyday activities. Avoid spreading pollen buds onto your pillow and into your sheets by showering at night before bed. You don’t want to be sleeping face to face with your nasal enemy.
- Take care of mold. Mold thrives in warm, humid conditions and can appear in unexpected places. Beat mold with bleach.
- Use the recirculate option in your car. Keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible when the pollen count is high and recirculate the air in your car. Your air vent may let pollen in.
- Keep windows and doors closed in your home. Though it may feel good outside, wait until the pollen count goes down to open your windows and doors. If pollen blows in, it does not see itself out when the night comes to an end.
- Wash your face and hands after going outside. Your face is very susceptible to allergens and your hands will touch a multitude of essential objects throughout the day. Keep you face and hands clean.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Pollen can give you itchy, watery eyes. Avoid this discomfort and protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses outside.
- Avoid cuddling up with pets. They know you love them, but dogs and cats can pick up an abundance of pollen, dander, dust, etc.
- Run your air conditioner to prevent pollen from entering the house and to decrease the humidity. A cool air temperature will also keep dust mites at bay.
- Workout at night. The pollen count is usually at its peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. If you want to go for a walk or jog outdoors, a late afternoon or evening stroll is your best bet.
- Wear a mask. Have some last minute gardening or yard work to do before spring hits in full bloom? wear a mask to avoid breathing in allergens.
- Relax. Studies have shown that seasonal allergy sufferers tend to have more extreme reactions after a stressful task or event. If you have stress, try to find relaxing activities to follow up.