Why Allergies Aren’t Going Anywhere Any Time Soon
Sneezing. Itchy eyes. Runny nose. It’s that time of year again…allergy season! Learn when these allergens are most prevalent, why they might be getting worse, and tips for finding relief year after year.
When Is Allergy Season?
The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The timing of allergy season depends on a number of factors, including the geography of where a person lives and what triggers a person’s allergies.
Generally speaking, though, seasonal allergies following this time frame:
March to April
The beginning of spring typically brings the introduction of tree pollen. Some grasses and weeds are starting as well.
May to July
By late spring and summer, it’s peak allergy season. Weeds, grasses, and trees are all producing allergens at their most rapid during this time.
July to September
Late summer and early fall is the time of ragweed. This flowering plant is extremely common and induces the allergic reaction known as hay fever. By some estimates, more than 23 million US people suffer from hay fever every year.
In most parts of the United States, October marks the end of allergy season. At this time, temperatures come down, and allergy-inducing plants and trees go dormant. If you live in a particularly warm part of the States, though, allergy season can run anywhere from January to November.
Year-Round Allergies? The Trees Might Not Be to Blame
If you suffer from allergies throughout the year and you notice they’re considerably worse indoors, you’re not likely reacting to pollen at all. Rather, you could be allergic to pet dander, dust, or mites—all common allergens found in both residential and commercial spaces.
The first step to finding relief is properly identifying your allergy triggers, so if you’re unsure what’s causing your sneezing fits, consult your doctor.
Is It Just Me, or Are My Allergies Getting Worse?
It’s not just you! Warm temperatures create an environment that produces pollen. The warmer the temperature, the more pollen released into the air. That’s why allergy season is typically considered spring and summer, when the weather begins to warm.
With the effects of climate change, an increasing amount of allergy-inducing pollen is being introduced into the air. As temperatures continue to climb year after year, people can expect their allergies to become worse and worse.
This year, you might also notice a particularly strong allergic reaction in children. With the 2020 quarantine, children weren’t spending nearly as much time outdoors. Exposure to allergens in children can help their young immune systems learn how to fight them naturally. With the limited exposure of last year, you might see more sneezing, coughing, and eye rubbing this year when your little one is outside.
10 Tips for Minimizing Allergy Symptoms
The only way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergen. Therefore, all tips related to finding relief are about minimizing that exposure risk:
1. Avoid the Outdoors
As much as possible, avoid going outdoors when you know the pollen count is going to be high. (Want more insight into when that might be? Check out this interactive allergy tool.) Dry, windy days can be particularly problematic for allergy sufferers. The best time to venture outdoors is after a heavy rain, which clears a lot of the residual pollen from the air.
If staying indoors that much is not feasible (or desirable), make sure to at least change your clothes when you come back into the house. Pollen can cling to clothing fibers, and a quick change can help reduce your exposure. If you’re still experiencing issues, take a shower to rid any remaining pollen from your hair and skin.
2. Wear a Pollen Mask
If you still want to enjoy the outdoors during the sunny weather, try a pollen mask. Pollen particles are fairly large and easy to capture, so whether you go with a pollen-specific mask or you just throw on any face covering, your chance of limiting outdoor pollen exposure is relatively high.
3. Keep Pets Indoors
Pollen can easily stick to the fur of cats, dogs, and other animals, bringing the allergen directly into your home. If you’re minimizing your time outdoors because of the pollen count, it’s a good idea to keep the animals indoors as well.
4. Avoid Outdoor Chores
Allergy sufferers shouldn’t be the ones doing the weed pulling and lawn mowing. All these activities directly expose you to allergens that can stir up a reaction.
5. Skip the Clothesline
Hanging your clothes on the clothesline is a great way to save energy—and get that sun-fresh smell in your clothing! It’s not such a great idea for allergy sufferers, though. Avoid putting out clothes, towels, or bedding that an allergy sufferer is going to use.
6. Keep Up to Date on Changing Your HVAC Filter
The filter in your HVAC system is one line of defense against indoor air contaminants. (In fact, if you don’t have indoor air purifying equipment, your filter is your only line of defense.)
Make sure you’re changing it out regularly enough to be efficient and effective. Not sure how long that is? Check out this article for some helpful guidance.
7. Turn to Over-the-Counter Allergy Medicines
One of the most common tactics for tackling seasonal allergies is medication. Simple, safe over-the-counter options are widely available at pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail outlets. Antihistamines can offer relief from sneezing and itchy noses and throats, while decongestants will clear up stuffy noses.
8. Close the Windows
Since the idea is to keep as much pollen out of your house as possible, make sure to keep windows and doors shut. This will stop a large majority of outside allergens from entering the space. Don’t forget this goes for your car windows as well.
9. Get Indoor Air Quality Improvement Equipment
One of the most effective ways to remove allergens from your indoor space (commercial or residential) is by installing air quality improvement equipment in your existing HVAC system. Check out how these systems work to remove dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens from the air.
10. Consult Your Doctor
If you’ve tried all the strategies above and allergies are still negatively affecting your quality of life, it’s time to head to the doctor. Depending on your situation, your health care provider can provide prescription-level allergy medicine or refer you to an allergist who can come up with a personalized plan to get you or your child relief.
Seeking even more ideas? Check out what the Mayo Clinic has to say about nipping allergies in the bud.
Intrigued by tip #9? If you’re looking for an indoor air quality improvement system that can help relieve your seasonal allergies, as well as kill mold and bacteria and neutralize viruses, reach out today. We’re always happy to answer questions and to discuss the right solution for you!
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