Do you or your little ones struggle with hay fever? Are the summer holidays a frustrating experience? Learn how to beat summer allergies with these simple household tips.
Easy Ways to Beat Summer Allergies
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. Allergies can affect people from all walks of life. Allergic rhinitis, for example the hay fever, is a common issue that can be caused by allergies to tree, grass or weed pollen, or to other airborne irritants including mold. There are several ways to combat summer allergies:
Identify What You are Allergic To
Summer allergies can be caused by a variety of different substances. Knowing whether you’re allergic to tree pollen, grass, or some other specific substance can help you plan your activities. For example, if you know that you’re allergic to grass pollen, then you may decide that it makes more sense to go to the beach for a nice holiday rather than staying on a resort with a huge golf course and open, grassy plains.
Allergy tests are available, but there are also other ways to know what you are allergic to. Simply keeping a diary of your symptoms, and where you were when you noticed them, will give you an idea of what triggers your hay fever.
Limit Your Exposure Outdoors
Following on from the first point, once you know what you’re allergic to you can try to time your activities around the pollen count. If freshly cut grass is a trigger, try not to be around it. If grass pollen is an issue, pay attention to the weather. Pollen counts can vary during the day considering the season, location, and land use. Sometimes pollen can peak early in the morning, drop for a while, then peak again late in the day. However, the pollen can also be high during the whole day and sometimes, even at night. If the grass is damp, however, pollen counts will not hit their first peak until later in the morning because the dew needs to evaporate first.
Download an app that includes pollen counts as a part of its weather forecasts. Pay attention to the count and try to arrange activities for times when pollen levels are predicted to be lower.
Protect Yourself From Allergens
If you have very bad hay fever, consider wearing a mask while cutting the grass. The same is true for vacuuming indoors. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends that asthma sufferers wear a mask while vacuuming their rooms to prevent dust mites and other allergens from triggering an attack.
Some people find that wearing a baseball cap, or other types of hat, helps to prevent pollen from reaching their eyes. If you choose to do this, wear the cap only when you’re outside, and then take it off when you come indoors. Sunglasses can also help prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.
People with very bad allergies should change their clothes and take a shower when they get home. It’s particularly important to wash your hair before going to bed if you’ve been in a pollen-rich environment, to reduce the risk of contaminating your pillow with pollen.
Control Your Home Environment
Some people experience debilitating seasonal allergy symptoms even while they’re at home. If you find that the slightest whiff of your neighbor’s freshly cut grass is enough to start you off sneezing and make your eyes water, consider investing in an air purifier for each of the rooms where you spend a lot of time.
Air purifiers reduces viruses, pollen and other impurities in the air. They can help to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, other forms of allergic rhinitis, and even certain kinds of asthma by improving the quality of the air in your home.
You can take other precautions to keep pollen out of your home, too. Don’t hang your laundry outside during periods when the pollen count is high. Cover your pillows with your duvet to stop pollen from contaminating the surface during the day. Keep your bedroom windows closed while the pollen count is elevated, and air out your room when the pollen count is lower.
Limit Exposure to Pet Hair
Pet hair can contain several allergens. If you’ve tried taking other precautions but still find that you’re suffering from hay fever-like symptoms at home, consider the possibility that you’re allergic to your pet allergens or other allergens carried by your pet’s hair. This does not mean that you have to give up the pet. You can reduce the exposure risk by keeping your pet out of your bedroom and using hardwood flooring or linoleum in other rooms to make it easier to vacuum up any pet dander.
Use Antihistamines to Reduce Summer Allergy Symptoms
Antihistamines help reduce allergy symptoms by blocking the body’s response to exposure to the ‘unwanted’ substance. There are many over-the-counter antihistamines on the market, including sprays, pills and liquids. Some antihistamines can make you drowsy, so it is important that you read the label before taking them and seek advice from a doctor if you’re not sure if the drug in question is suitable for you.
Not all antihistamines are suitable for young children. There are certain liquid antihistamines that can be used by children as young as two, but you should speak to a pharmacist or doctor before giving your child any medication.
There are other medications available to manage hay fever, such as nasal rinses and decongestants. Depending on the symptoms you have, these treatments could help you cope with severe bouts of seasonal allergies.