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Tips to avoiding outdoor allergies



Seasonal allergies affect millions people. Often prompted by sensitivities to outdoor allergens such as molds and pollens, seasonal allergy sufferers are prone to sneezing, congestion and itchy, watery eyes.

Allergy symptoms are often minimal on wet, cloudy or windless days because pollen does not circulate well under those conditions. Hot, dry and windy weather, however, increases the amount of pollen and mold in the air, resulting in more severe allergy symptoms.

If you are sensitive to outdoor pollens, you’ll have symptoms at specific times of the year. Here are some tips to help manage and control your exposure to outdoor allergens:

Avoid walking outdoors in wooded areas or gardens as much as possible. Keep the amount of vegetation around your home to a minimum.

Stay indoors on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are usually the highest. Avoid going outside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. in particular, as pollen counts are generally highest during these early morning hours.

Avoid the grass around you home from growing tall enough to produce seed heads and pollens. Wear a paper filter mask to help guard against your exposure to grass pollen. Stay away from freshly cut grass as much as possible.

Wear a paper mask while gardening to protect yourself from flower and weed pollens. Clean up and dispose of all plant waste immediately to prevent it from getting wet and moldy.

Place your compost bin further from your house if you are allergic to molds; have another family member add new materials to your compost pile when necessary, or wear a mask to keep your exposure to a minimum.

Don’t handle or rake leaves, hay or mulch if you are allergic to mold, as these are often a prime breeding ground for mold spores. Avoid cleaning gutters and piles of garden clippings that are full of wet leaves.

Keep all windows and doors closed during the allergy season to prevent allergens from coming in with the breeze; use an air conditioner to cool your home instead of a fan, which can pull more pollen inside.

Keep your car windows closed to prevent contact with airborne allergens; use the air conditioner to cool the interior.

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Plan your vacation time carefully. Take a holiday near the beach or ocean during the height of the pollen season to reduce your amount of exposure. Time your other outdoor activities (hiking, cycling, etc.) for times when pollen counts are lower.

Rinse your nasal passages with saline spray after being outdoors to remove any pollen you may have inhaled.

Don’t wash your cat or dog yourself. Ask a friend or family member to wash your pets regularly to remove any pollens they may have collected while outside.

Place washable area rugs at all entrances to your home to help trap allergens before they are carried throughout the house. Wash rugs each week in hot water.

The best way to avoid outdoor allergens is to plan ahead and work your life around your sensitivities. Knowing your area’s pollen count is a good place to start.


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