Outdoor Allergen Tips:

 

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, affects more than 35 million Americans.  If you suffer from it, you may experience sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose, and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat eyes or ears.  These allergic reactions are most commonly caused by pollen and mold spores in the air.

 

Pollen causes allergy symptoms

 

Pollen from plants with colorful flowers, like roses, usually do not cause allergies.  These plants rely on insects to transport pollen for fertilization.  On the other hand, many plants have flowers which produce light dry pollens that are easily spread by the wind and become airborne. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often caused by tree pollen in the early spring.  During the late spring and early summer, grasses often cause symptoms.  Late summer and fall hay fever is caused by weeds.

 

Mold causes allergy symptoms

 

Molds are tiny fungi related to mushrooms but without stems, roots or leaves.  Their spores float in the air like pollen. Molds can be found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood.  Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as temperatures rise in the spring and reach their peak in July in warmer states and October in the colder states.  They can be found year-round in the South and on the West Coast.

Your treatment consists of medications, avoiding outdoor exposure at peak pollen times, and/or immunotherapy or allergy shots.

 

Tips for Reducing Outdoor Allergens

  • Keep your windows closed at night if possible, use air conditioning (with an electrostatic filter if possible) which cleans, cools and dries the air.
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen or mold levels are reported to be high.  Wear a pollen mask if long periods of exposure are unavoidable. 
  • Don’t mow lawns or rake leaves because it stirs up pollen and molds. 
  • Avoid hanging sheets or clothes outside to dry.
  • Consider taking a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or the sea.
  • When traveling by car, keep your windows closed.
  • Be sure to take any medications prescribed by your allergist regularly.
  • Shower or change clothes after being outside