Reduce your Allergy Symptoms this Summer
Summer is probably the first season that comes to mind when one thinks of allergies, and for good reason. Combined with the heat, summer allergens such as dust, pollen, and pet dander can cause some of the worst allergic reactions in sufferers and make what are supposed to be the best months of the year downright miserable. Prescription medications can help calm or prevent allergic reactions, but the best way to reduce summer allergies is to reduce your exposure to summer allergens. There are a number of simple ways to do this and, luckily, none of them require a visit to the doctor.
Understand Your Allergies
The first step towards reducing your exposure to allergens is to recognize the types of allergens that aggravate your symptoms. If you’re like most allergy sufferers in the United States you experience hay fever or asthmatic symptoms. These symptoms are a result of your body’s immune system releasing antibodies into your bloodstream. These antibodies in turn create histamine, the agent that acts on your eyes, nose, throat, skin, lungs, and even gastrointestinal system to produce your allergy symptoms. The allergens that induce this reaction in your body are generally environmental allergens –airborne particles such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. It is virtually impossible to completely avoid these types of allergens. They exist inside and outside your home, at work, and anywhere else you might think of enjoying your summer months. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the amount of environmental allergens you come into contact with.
Reduce In-Coming Pollutants
The easiest way to avoid contact with allergens inside your home is to keep your windows and doors closed. A clean air filter or air conditioner can help cut down your in-home exposure to allergens tremendously. If keeping your windows closed during the summer is not an option, invest in a good screen. Make sure you keep your window and door screens clean, too. Pollen that accumulates on your screen can be tracked into your home when you open and close the doors or windows.
Avoid Peak Pollen Hours
If you are particularly sensitive to pollen you may want to stay indoors during peak pollen times. Pollen counts tend to peak during the morning, and are especially high on dry, windy days. It’s best to avoid going outdoors until late afternoon or evenings, when the temperature has cooled off a bit.
Dry Clothes Inside
Inhaling pollen isn’t the only way to experience its affect. Pollen can also irritate your skin, causing dry, itchy rashes. Clothes, towels and bed sheets that are hung to dry outdoors can collect pollen spores and cause fairly severe allergy symptoms. It is best to use a clothes dryer if you can; if not, hang your clothes in the evening, when pollen counts are low.
Keep House Clean
There are other summer allergens beyond pollen you will probably want to avoid as well. Dust mites and pet dander can also cause severe reactions in allergy sufferers. Dust mites cause allergic reactions by producing waste products that irritate the linings of the nose, throat, and lungs when inhaled. The easiest way to control the amount of dust mites in your home is to dust surfaces and wash bedding and clothes often. Vacuuming a few times a week can also help reduce the amount of surface dust mites. Make sure your vacuum has a clean air filter, and if you develop symptoms while cleaning you might want to leave the house for a few hours or consider wearing a pollen-proof facemask.
Protect Your Sleep
Aside from simple cleaning, another way to avoid allergen symptoms in your home is to use mattress and furniture protectors. Mattress protectors are one of the best ways of protecting yourself against dust mites and pet dander. These impermeable covers provide a barrier between your mattress and allergy causing dust mites and dander. Covers are good options because they can be easily cleaned and reused regularly where as vacuuming or cleaning a mattress is difficult and doesn’t always remove harmful allergens. Waterproof mattress protectors are also available for children’s beds and baby cribs. These covers reduce the chance of your mattress developing troublesome mold growth, another cause of allergies.
Summertime can be particularly problematic for allergy sufferers. Runny noses, sneeze attacks, itchy eyes, and burning throats can easily ruin any fun-filled summer activity. By simply planning ahead, however, you can easily avoid most environmental allergens and have an exciting, allergy-free summer.