If you have seasonal allergies, you know awful they can make your life, especially in summertime when you really want to be outdoors. They can make you feel tired, keep you from sleeping at night and negatively effect the way you function at work. Here at Westchester Health, a good number of our patients suffer from seasonal allergies, especially pollen. What we’ve found over the years is that if people can make certain adjustments to their lifestyles, they can minimize their exposure to a lot of the things that are making them sneeze, cough and feel miserable. We share those here:
10 ways to prevent, avoid or at least minimize pollen allergies
Don’t exercise outside in the morning
The pollen count is highest in the morning, so exercising outdoors at this time can really affect how you feel for the rest of the day. Instead, work out in the evening when the pollen count is lower, or indoors where your pollen exposure is much less.
Track your local pollen count
The National Allergy Bureau has pollen counters situated across the country which reveal how high the pollen is for different types of plants on any given day in any given location. We advise checking these often. On a low pollen day, you’re probably fine depending on how severe your allergies are, but on a high pollen day, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible to limit your symptoms.
Get some big sunglasses
During allergy season, pollen spores float through the air and land all over your body, including in your eyes. We recommend investing in a pair of oversized sunglasses and wearing them as much as possible when you’re outside. It may seem farfetched but the glasses really can act as a physical barrier to prevent pollen from getting in your eyes, where it can cause redness, itching and watering.
Scale back on your hair products
Hair gels and sprays can actually turn your hair into a pollen magnet. This can cause pollen to end up on your pillow at night where it can stir up your allergies while you sleep.
Shower and change your clothes as soon as you get home
If you’ve been outside, it’s highly likely that some amount of pollen has ended up on your hair, skin and clothes. That’s why it’s a good idea to change out of your clothes and wash your hair and body when you come inside. If you don’t, you can drop pollen all over your house, making it more likely that it will continue to bother you even indoors.
Don’t line-dry clothes outside
Since pollen is constantly blowing around during allergy season, drying your sheets, blankets and clothes outside and then bringing them into your house brings the pollen inside, too.
Take off your shoes at the door
Pollen tends to settle on the ground where it then gets picked up by your shoes. And if you wear your shoes around your house, you’re spreading that tracked-in pollen everywhere, increasing your exposure and making your symptoms worse.
Use your air conditioning
Many people like to open windows on low pollen count days but be aware that pollen is still floating around, even when counts are low. Opening your windows—especially often—not only brings it into your home but allows it to accumulate.
Try a saline rinse
A simple OTC nasal saline rinse used daily can help lessen your allergy symptoms significantly. If you don’t want to rinse every day, at least use it on high pollen count days—it can make a big difference in how you feel.
Invest in a HEPA filter
Common air purifiers don’t do a great job of blocking pollen since it’s too small of a particle to filter out. HEPA filters, on the other hand, use a fine mesh that more effectively traps pollen in your indoor air. We recommend running one in your bedroom to decrease the allergen load while you’re sleeping.
Pollen allergies got you down? Come see us.
If you suffer from pollen or any other type of allergy, please make an appointment with Westchester Health to see one of our Allergy and Immunology specialists. He/she will examine you, make a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment so you can soon get relief and feel better, now and during future allergy seasons. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.