October 25, 2014
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Allergy

 Health Home >> Allergy >> Allergy prevention 

Avoiding outdoor allergens

Pollen plays such a pivotal role in the cycles of the natural world. Pollen causes the telltale seasonal shifts in plants, grasses, and weeds. Pollen also causes the telltale seasonal allergy symptoms so many people suffer from at various times throughout the year.

How can a person prone to seasonal allergies coexist with nature without sneezing, sniffling, and coughing?

Know your triggers. Pollen is the number one culprit in most outdoor seasonal allergies, but pollen from where? Tree pollen causes most springtime symptoms, and the pollen from grasses and weeds set off summer and fall sneezing fits.

Leave pollen where it belongs. Pollen is not as sticky as some allergens but it can come into your house in the air; on your clothes, skin, and hair; and on the fur of pets. Keep the windows closed during allergy seasons, and regularly clear out air filters and air ducts. After being outside in "danger" zones, remove any shoes and clothing that may have gotten soiled with pollen. Take a shower, or at least wash your hands and rinse out your eyes and nose.

Sidestep your triggers. Nature doesn't have to be your enemy! Try to minimize your exposure to your known allergy triggers and if you have seasonal allergies, make the best of the times of the year when you're not suffering from allergy symptoms. For example, if you're allergic to spring tree pollen, save campouts and picnics for late summer or early autumn. If autumn ragweed stuffs you up, make spring your hiking season.

Watch the weather. Pollen is the substance that plants such as trees, weeds, and grasses use to fertilize new seeds for growth. A pollen count is the number of grains of plant pollen per cubic meter, usually measured over a 24-hour period. Most weather forecasts feature pollen counts that can give you a rough estimate of daily allergy hazards, so pay attention to these and limit your time outdoors on days when the pollen counts soar. Pollen counts are also highest in the morning, so try to stay indoors until later in the day.


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