An allergy exists when one’s immune system responds abnormally to a usually harmless substance. Allergy symptoms can first appear in childhood or develop during adulthood. Allergy sufferers can do several things to combat seasonal allergic reactions.
In the Spring
Mold growth blooms indoors and outdoors with spring rains. As flowers, trees, weeds and grasses begin to blossom, allergies will follow. Spring-cleaning activities can stir up dust mites. Be sure to:
- Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.
- Wash your hair before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in your hair.
- Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit dust and chemical inhalation, and skin exposure.
- Vacuum twice a week.
- Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.
- Make sure the rugs you do have are washable.
- Change air conditioning and heating air filters often.
In the Summer
Warm temperatures and high humidity can put a strain on seasonal allergy and asthma sufferers. Summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog and even mold:
- Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest.
- Be careful when going from extreme outdoor heat to air conditioning. The temperature change can trigger an asthma attack.
- Wear a mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly-cut grass. Afterward, take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes.
- Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline.
- Check your yard for allergens, as well as other irritants such as oak, birch, cedar and cottonwood trees; weeds such as nettle or ragweed can also trigger allergies.
- Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves if allergic to bee stings.
- Do not wear scented deodorants, hair products or perfumes when outdoors.
Treatment for most allergies is available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Your doctor may suggest several treatment methods:
- Antihistamine medications work by blocking the effects of histamines, the chemicals that cause many allergy symptoms. Keep in mind that antihistamines may also cause drowsiness.
- Nasal sprays often help to reduce nasal inflammation, congestion, sneezing and runny nose.
- Decongestants help dry up nasal passages and reduce the swelling that causes stuffiness.
If your allergy symptoms are severe or chronic, you may need a series of allergy shots. Contact your physician or allergist to determine which treatment option is best suited for your particular allergy symptoms.