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Every season of the year brings new obstacles to allergy sufferers. Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies (such as sensitivity to pollen in the spring or mold in the fall), or allergies that are a nuisance in every season (like pet dander and dust mites), there are plenty of things you can do to lessen your symptoms year-round.
Spring Allergy Tips
Most spring allergies are related to pollen—powdery grains that are carried by wind or insects and are necessary for plant reproduction. Flowering plants and trees, such as the oak, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar, maple and walnut, start pollinating between January and April, depending on their location. When pollen is in the air, it can land in the eyes, nose, lungs or skin of a sensitive person and cause itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and other breathing difficulties.
Pollen allergy symptoms are often minimal on rainy, windless days because pollen does not move much during those conditions. Hot, dry, and windy weather brings more pollen into the air and results in more allergy symptoms. In the United States, pollen season typically runs from March until October, but it can begin as early as January in southern states.
If you are sensitive to pollen, here are some tips to help you cope:
Summer Allergy Tips
Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from blowing into your home and car.
Avoid going outside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are highest.
Don’t dry your clothing on an outside line, as pollen can be transferred to your clothes and into your home that way. Use a clothes dryer instead, or an indoor clothing rack.
If you’ve been outside, change your clothes in the garage before entering your home to prevent pollen transfer. Shower and wash your hair before going to bed so you don’t spend the night covered in allergens.
Grass pollen is a common cause of allergic reactions in the late spring and early summer, but it can also be a factor in any season that lawns are mowed. A grass pollen allergy can cause hives and skin irritation, as well as itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose.
If you have a grass pollen allergy, here are some tips to help you through the season:
Do not mow the lawn yourself. Find someone else cut the grass instead. If you have to do the cutting, wear a paper mask to cover your nose and mouth.
Keep windows closed during the spring and summer (especially while the lawn is being mowed) and use an air conditioner to cool your home to prevent pollen from blowing in.
Ask a family member without allergies to shampoo or brush your pets regularly. This will help remove any pollen that might be trapped on their fur after they go outside.
Take a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more neutral environment, such as a beach, to reduce your exposure to allergens.