During the spring, as flowers and trees begin to bloom, pollen levels rise. Which means that if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis, you may find yourself feeling pretty miserable. There, are, however, strategies you can take to make allergy season easier. Follow these simple rules to keep symptoms at bay.
1. Time your activities. Avoid sports and other outdoor activities in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
2. Beware windy days. Wind scatters pollen, so reschedule or limit outdoor activities when wind is forecast. If you have to go outside or do yard work, wear a mask. Better yet, delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
3. Rinse off after being outdoors. Wash your face and hands whenever you come inside, and you may want to shower and wash your clothes after any extended exposure. Rinsing with saline nose spray can also help keep airways clear.
4. Hang laundry indoors to dry instead of outside. You’ll avoid pollen and conserve energy, too.
5. Plan ahead with allergy medicines. If high pollen counts are forecast, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
6. Keep the outdoors outside. According to the experts at Kaiser Permanente, it’s best to keep doors and windows to your car and home closed. To stay cool, use air conditioning rather than attic fans or swamp coolers, which pull in outdoor air.
7. Filter indoor air. Outfit your heat and air conditioning systems with high-efficiency (HEPA) filters and follow maintenance schedules, replacing filters regularly.
If you have seasonal allergies, you may be able to find the pollen count in your area on the National Allergy Bureau website or weather.com. There are also many allergy apps you can download to your smartphone.
Be pro-active and take a few simple precautions, and seasonal allergies shouldn’t have to sideline you this spring.