They call it "hay fever," but seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, can be triggered by a lot more than hay. When trees and grasses begin growing in the spring, they release light, powdery pollen that floats on the wind. If you're allergic to this pollen, it brings on sniffles, sneezes, wheezes, runny nose, and itchy, watering eyes. In late summer and early fall, weed pollen, especially from ragweed, and fungal spores are the main culprits.
So if you're an allergy sufferer, how can you enjoy the outdoors and the warm weather without setting off all those miserable symptoms? Here are a few tips:
- Try not to be outdoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. -- that's when pollen counts are usually at their peak.
- Keep windows closed so pollens and molds can't drift in. Air conditioning will keep you more comfortable by cleaning, cooling and drying the air.
- Stay inside when pollen counts are high (watch for these in weather reports) and on windy days when pollen and spores can get blown around.
- Don't hang your laundry outside to dry -- it can trap pollen and mold, bringing them inside. Use your dryer instead.
If these tips are too restrictive on you and your child's lifestyle, don't suffer in silence! Visit your doctor or an allergist (a doctor who specializes in treating allergies) to find out about effective treatment options that may allow your child to continue enjoying spring outdoors.