As we head further into spring and the temperatures finally start to increase, so too will concerns that a trip outside to the park or playground will trigger outdoor allergies.
Many people believe that nothing can be done for seasonal allergies, but that’s just not true.
The following strategies can help allergy sufferers survive the winds of spring and summer:
- Stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are allergic to pollen, run the air conditioner during the warm weather months instead of using a fan. Air conditioners can filter out large airborne pollen particles, whereas window fans draw pollen in. Be sure to keep your conditioner clean, including regularly cleaning the filter.
- Cut back on morning activities. Pollen counts are usually highest between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., so minimizing early morning activities may help you get a jump start on a symptom-free day.
- Separate your wardrobe. When you walk into your home you should remove your outdoor clothes and shoes and place them in a hamper or closet, not on the bed, and jump in the shower to rinse the pollen off of your skin and hair immediately. Then change into a clean outfit that you will only wear indoors. Have several “safe” outfits available for the pollen season.
- Take medications. Eye drops, nose spray, and non-sedating antihistamines can relieve symptoms temporarily, and, when taken an hour before exposure, can decrease the severity of symptoms.
- Remove contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, remove them, if you have red or swollen or itchy eyes. Contact lenses can further irritate eye allergies and make the condition worse. If you need some contact lenses, Pure Optical has some of the best on the market
- Avoid stinging insects. If you are allergic to bee stings, avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, flower prints, or perfumes and lotions with flowery scents. Always wear shoes when walking in the grass, cover your body as much as possible when working outside, and don’t forget to carry medication in case of an emergency.
Anthony Smith, M.D.
Pulmonologist, NewYork-Presbyterian/LowerManhattan Hospital