Welcome Spring allergies! The sun is shining. The flowers are blooming. Spring is in the air…and so is the pollen! Pollen is that fine yellow dust you see covering your car that comes from flowers, trees, grasses, and weeds. It is also a major allergen that triggers spring allergies symptoms in many people, adults and kids alike. There are many steps you can take to help reduce those pesky sneezing fits caused by spring allergies while still enjoying a pretty spring day.
Why Am I Sneezing?
Your body is wonderfully made with an immune system that kicks into gear when it is triggered by an allergen such as pollen. When the immune system is triggered and your body starts releasing histamine, you can start feeling a wide-range of effects. Symptoms usually include sneezing, red, watery, or itchy eyes, stuffiness, a runny nose, itching, and post-nasal drip. None of these symptoms are fun to experience and leave many dreading their time outside thanks to spring allergies.
Read More: Relief for a Family of Allergy Sufferers
Know Your Trees and Grasses
In the early days of spring, trees begin to release a light, dry pollen that is easily carried in the wind. It’s the release of pollen that triggers spring allergies. Grass pollen usually begins pollinating in late spring, from April to early June. To best be prepared, take a look around your area to identify common trees and grasses.
If you see Birch, Elm, Cedar, Oak, Pine, Poplar, Walnut, Ash, or a Chestnut tree, know that these pollen makers are common big triggers for the sniffles. Depending on the area in which you live, the type of grasses you see will vary. Overall though, Bermuda, Bahia, Bluegrass, Timothy grass, Johnson, and Ryegrass are going to be your potential trouble-makers. No matter grass or tree, warm days will increase the spread of pollen and the day after a good rain will lower pollen counts.
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10 Things You Can Do To Reduce the Effects of Pollen
- Check your local pollen count and the weather.
- Most weather apps now include a pollen count for your area. The higher the number, the more likely your body will fight the effects of pollen. Also, keep in mind, pollen peaks between 5 am-10 am and again at dusk. If you need to be outside, try to work around these time periods. Don’t forget to check the wind on your weather app as well. Dry windy days increase the amount of pollen flying through the air making spring allergies an inconvenience.
- Wear a mask when mowing the lawn or pass on the chore.
- If your grass is due for a cut, be prepared. It is best to wear long pants and a lightweight long-sleeve shirt to help reduce the contact of grass pollen on your skin. A mask can also reduce the amount of pollen you’re breathing in.
- Keep windows and doors closed.
- As much as you love having the breeze blow through your windows, just remember the wind is bringing pollen inside your home. It is easier to limit pollen-triggered symptoms by keeping the pollen outside.
- When traveling by car, keep your windows up. The same thoughts apply to your car. Having the wind blow through your hair, is again, increasing the chances of your immune system reacting to pollen.
- Remove shoes before entering your home.
- Leaving your shoes outside your main living area is a great habit to start. Try leaving a pair of shoes, just to wear inside your home, for a quick change upon arriving home. This helps reduce the amount of pollen coming inside your home and hopefully reducing your spring allergies.
- Change clothes after being outside.
- Pollen likes to cling to anything, including your clothes. After cutting the grass, attending a local cookout, or playing frisbee in the park be sure to change clothes before relaxing on your couch. It is also a good idea to leave your pollen-covered clothes in a separate area so you limit the spread of pollen in your closet or laundry.
- Take a bath each night and wash your hair.
- At the end of the day, it is best to wash away the pollen that has clung to your hair and skin to help create the best night’s sleep.
- Dust and Vacuum at least once a week.
- Chores may not be high on your list of favorite things to do but dusting and vacuuming can be critical in reducing the pollen count inside your home. This helps improve the air you breathe.
- Change out your home filters on a regular basis.
- Changing out your home air filters improves the air quality in your home. There are so many options when it comes to air filters, be sure to select one that meets your needs. Not only can they help with pollen and dust, but they can reduce pet dander too. The cleaner your air, the less chance of your spring allergies being triggered.
- Don’t forget about your pets.
- If your pets roam around the yard, their fur is collecting pollen from the air and grass. It is a good idea to give them a good brushing before coming back inside. Did you know even some pets may have spring allergies too? You can keep a rag by the door to wipe the pollen off their paws to reduce skin irritations and limit the pollen coming inside your home.
- Wash your hands!
- One of the easiest ways to reduce those itchy eyes from spring allergies is to wash your hands. Be aware of all the things you touch outside. From opening your car door that is covered in yellow dust to picking the random weeds, your hands are touching pollen. The last thing you want to do is rub your eyes, introducing pollen, and triggering a mad itch in your eyes.
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For many, spring is a time of sunshine and tissues. Remembering to take action to reduce the number of spring allergies you are exposed to on a daily basis can help to drastically reduce those pesky allergy symptoms. So don’t forget to look beyond the temperature on your weather app and leave those shoes at to door when you arrive home!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article Spring Garden: 20 Things We Are Digging.
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Photo Credits: Pixabay Pexels
Sources: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology