Doctors call it seasonal allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis, the rest of us just call it hay fever. New growth in Spring time means tree, grass, and weed pollens become airborne, with pollen comes higher risk for related allergies. Seasonal allergies can result in sneezing,  a runny nose, and itchiness in your nose, throat, and eyes. Allergy sufferers cannot avoid the outside world, but there are ways to minimize exposure to pollen. There are many ways to reduce, and treat, seasonal allergies. The key to preventing an onset of severe symptoms is knowing when the risk of pollen exposure is high and avoiding that exposure as much as possible. Even when the pollen count is high and the breezes are stiff, it’s possible to take steps to reduce symptoms of your seasonal allergies.

There are some simple steps to keep hay fever symptoms at bay.

Leaving shoes at the door when entering the home lessens the amount of pollen tracked indoors. Wiping down pets can also help, because pollen clings to fur.  Washing hair before bed can also reduce pollen collected during the day, and prevent collection on bedding.

Closing up the house will also reduce pollen wafting through open windows. Close windows and outside doors, especially on high-pollen days, and opt instead for heat or air-conditioning. Keep windows and sunroofs closed in the car as well. Especially on high-pollen days, recirculate the air in the car instead of using vents, which let in pollen. The air conditioner will adjust the temperature to your comfort. Service filters in the furnace and air conditioner. Pay attention to intervals recommended by the manufacturer, or more frequently if it seems to help. Spores from mold can cause allergies. Aim for a humidity level of less than 50%. Consider buying a digital thermometer with a humidity gauge. A dehumidifier can help with this.

Check the pollen count and plan your day. Pollen counts are usually highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If predicted pollen count are high, try to plan your schedule accordingly. Delay errands and exercise, until later in the day, when pollen counts are typically lower. Sunglasses can help keep pollen out of eyes. Weather conditions also play a role in pollen levels. Pollen sticks around in moderate temperatures with low humidity and a gentle breeze. Rain washes pollen away. Pollen is carried by the wind, so a still day will typically have lower airborne pollen levels. If the tree, grass, and weed pollens that affect you or your children most are nearby try to remove them or steer clear. Airborne pollens can travel hundreds of miles from where they originated.

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