If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, you know how miserable it can be this time of year and lasting all the way through fall. Here are 3 keys to minimizing allergy symptoms this season.
Allergies are one of the leading chronic diseases in the U.S.; with a reported one out of five Americans having allergies of some sort. That’s a lot of people sniffling, sneezing or experiencing something more serious—like anaphylaxis.
Allergies come about when our immune system raises its defense against something it thinks is dangerous to our body. There are several types of allergies such as those ingested, breathed in or substances we touch; but for the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the ones specific to what’s referred to as allergy season. Those are:
- Pollen and Mold Spores. Pollen—The only way for a plant’s reproduction is through pollen that gets carried off in the air causing problems for many allergy sufferers. Tree pollens kick off the allergy season as early as January; grass pollens follow in the early springtime; with weed pollens rounding them out in late summer/early fall. Mold—Even though indoor mold can be a yearlong problem (and outdoor mold in Texas due to the climate), it still makes the list based on its dormancy during colder temps. Mold is fungi that grows where it’s damp, dark and humid. Their spores float through the air and can be found everywhere.
- Minimize pollen/mold spore allergy trigger- Cut the grass or other yard work while wearing an allergen mask; keep windows shut in the house and car to avoid pollens or mold spores from blowing in; take shoes off at the door, change clothes and shower when coming in from outside. Avoid the outdoors when pollen and mold counts are high or on windy days.
- Insects. Fire ants, honeybees, hornets, yellow jackets and wasps are out during the warmer months.
- Minimize insect allergy trigger- Don’t mess with the nests and avoid the area all together; avoid having or being around sugary drinks outside; and wear shoes when outside to avoid risk of stepping on a nest.
- Dust mites. Dust mites are a year-round issue and we can never fully remove them from our lives, but due to them flourishing in warm and humid temperatures, they make the cut as a seasonal allergens issue.
- Minimize dust mite allergy trigger- Keep humidity below 50 percent; use a HEPA filter for your furnace, A/C and vacuum; use allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers and wash bedding weekly; avoid carpet, especially in the bedrooms.
If you have any of the airborne allergy symptoms, get tested by an allergist. Many symptoms can be controlled or manageable. For allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylaxis, such as insect bites, wear a medical alert bracelet and always carry epinephrine. Take care!