The blooming plants and trees of spring are lovely to look at. But for the 50 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies, they are a sign of sneezing and coughing yet to come.
Whether you’re managing indoor or outdoor allergies, follow these helpful tips about environmental allergens and how to reduce their impact.
Outdoor allergies include trees, grasses, and weeds. Air movement and wind pick up pollen particles from these plants and take them airborne, making windy days especially difficult for allergy sufferers.
Peak allergy season for most trees and grasses is between March and May when these plants pollinate and blossom. Weeds tend to pollinate in the late summer or early fall. Ragweed is a major cause of hay fever (when an allergy sufferer’s immune system overreacts to pollen in the air), but other weeds can cause it too.
Outdoor allergens are, unsurprisingly, mostly found outdoors. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid going outside altogether during peak allergy season. The key is reducing your exposure. Here’s how:
Track Pollen Counts in Your Area
Online resources show you real-time pollen counts and forecasts, so you can know what to expect when you step outside your door.
Plan Outdoor Activities Strategically
Pollen counts tend to be highest between 5 AM and 10 AM. When you can, plan activities later in the day. Trade your morning run for an after-work jog. If you must go to that pre-breakfast yoga class, try out taking it inside.
Keep Pollen Off of You
If you have a pollen allergy, it’s important to keep it off of your person and your environment. Keep your windows shut in your home and car during allergy season. If you’ve been outside, change your clothes and wash your hands and face as soon as you get home. Be sure to shower before bed to wash off any outdoor allergens that may cling to you.
Indoor allergies can be present year round, and dust mites are the most common. These microscopic creatures thrive in warm, humid environments like carpets, mattresses, and couches. Use these simple steps to protect yourself.
Housekeeping Tips for Dust Mites
- Use synthetic pillows, not those filled with down
- Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water
- Vacuum the base of your bed weekly
- Use cotton blankets instead of wool
- Reduce the number of drapes or wall hangings in your home
- Avoid carpeted floors
Some allergens, like pet dander, mold, and pests, are both indoors and outdoors. Here’s how to handle them.
Pet Dander Tips
Dander is tricky because it clings to clothing, furniture, bedding, walls, and hair. But there are ways you can lower exposure and reduce your allergy symptoms.
Keep Your Home Clean
- Vacuum often, especially where your pets hang out
- Brush your pets outdoors (or, preferably, have someone else do it)
- Keep pets out of your bed (or out of the bedroom entirely)
- If you let your pets on your furniture, give them a special spot and avoid sitting there
When visiting someone who has a pet, ask your host to plan ahead. Ask them to keep their pets out of common areas where you may be. Suggest dining outside. Try to avoid carpeted areas of the home while you’re visiting.
Mold Reduction Tips
Mold is a common indoor and outdoor allergen that thrives in damp, humid environments and coastal areas. But it’s also often found in dry areas and deserts. Check out these environmental allergy tips for mold:
- Control temperatures using a fan, air conditioner, or humidifier
- Change household filters regularly
- Watch for any water leaks in your home
- Be vigilant about cleaning damp places like bathrooms, where mold grows
- Replace shower curtain liners often – they can be havens for mold growth
Pest Control Tips
Mice and cockroaches are very common, especially in urban areas. The best way to avoid them is to keep your space clean. But if they pop up, call an exterminator as soon as possible and be sure to clean the areas they inhabited.
Unfortunately, allergens are common indoors and outdoors. But being aware of them is the first step toward preventing an allergic reaction. Reducing your exposure can help you find relief and enjoy your life more.
Are You Ready to Live Without Environmental Allergy Symptoms?
If you suspect you have environmental allergies but aren’t sure what’s causing them, we can help! At Wyndly, our allergy specialists can determine what’s causing your allergies and develop a plan to address them. Get started today by taking our easy 2-minute online assessment!