Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dealing with Seasonal Allergies

10 simple steps for enjoying the 
great outdoors during allergy season

Wheezing, sneezing, coughing, blowing—it’s allergy season again! The biggest culprits are all types of pollen: weed pollens (especially ragweed), grass pollens (watch out for Johnson, Timothy, blue, orchard, Bermuda, and sweet vernal grasses), and tree pollens (hardwood deciduous trees such as birch, elm, oak, ash, alder, maple, and hazel can be rough on allergy sufferers).

So what’s a person to do when dealing with allergies but wanting to spend time outdoors this spring?

There’s no need to lock yourself in the house and avoid the great outdoors—everyone needs the sunshine and exercise. You can still get outside and have fun with a few precautions.

1--Avoid being outdoors in the early morning if you can (5:00 to 10:00 a.m.). Peak pollen production generally occurs at that time so outside activities are better for you later in the day.

2--Try wearing a painter’s mask if you are doing gardening or other outside work to provide you with a protective screen against airborne allergens.

3--When you come back inside, take a quick shower and change your clothes to remove pollens that may have settled on your hair or clothing outdoors.

4--Speaking of pollen clinging to fiber, avoid hanging your laundry outside during pollen season.

5--Recirculate your air supply in the car and in your home—set the car’s air conditioner to “recirculate” and at home, keep your windows closed and use the air conditioning (make sure to change your filters or clean them often).

6--Try planting trees on your property that won’t aggravate your allergies (see list of offenders above). Good choices are dogwood, fir, crepe myrtle, catalpa, or redwoods.

7--Keep your grass short.

8--Be attuned to your particular allergen’s schedule so you can be prepared. You can check your local allergy calendar by entering your zip code here -http://www.claritin.com/allergy-forecast/index.aspx.

9--The weather forecast affects local pollen levels. Pollen counts are usually highest on warm, breezy mornings and are low on cool, rainy days.

10--Watch the local weather forecast for pollen counts. If you have severe allergies, it’s best to avoid a lot of outdoor activity and exertion on high-pollen days.

On high-pollen days, it’s best to avoid strenuous exercise outside. That’s because the harder you exercise, the faster you breathe; this means you inhale more irritants and allergens. Choose something less stressful such as yoga or stretching exercises, even a slow walk.