Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

How to Avoid Surprise Allergy Attacks

Tried-and-true methods to keep allergens from making you miserable.
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature

Out of nowhere -- a sneeze attack. Who knows what caused it? An assortment of indoor and outdoor allergens can launch a surprise assault. Pollen's a biggie; so is mold. Whatever you can do to tame those plagues will make your life sweeter.

Allergy attacks are the body's overreaction to an irritant. An allergen is normally a harmless substance in the environment, such as pollen, which causes the immune system to react as if the allergen is harmful.

Recommended Related to Allergies

The Weather: Wreaking Havoc on Health

We all know people who blame the weather for their achy joints, killer headaches, and many other health woes. But proving these claims has been a bit more elusive. In recent years, however, scientists have become increasingly interested in attempting to understand just how various weather extremes and changing patterns affect our health. Many experts say that weather does account for some adverse health symptoms. WebMD talked to experts to learn just what is known about weather's role on our...

Read the The Weather: Wreaking Havoc on Health article > >

Pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and insect stings are common allergens -- triggering a range of symptoms, if you are sensitive to them. Mild reactions might be a rash, eye irritation, and congestion. With a moderate reaction, there's itchiness or difficulty breathing. A severe reaction, called anaphylaxis, is a rare but life-threatening emergency in which the whole body reacts.

It's a jungle out there. But here are tips to survive allergy triggers:

Pollen

It's no secret that grasses, trees, and flowers produce pollen from spring to fall. Here's their tentative schedule: Grass pollen (March to October), ragweed pollen (July to November), tree pollen (January to June), and weed pollen (April to November). The timetable varies depending on where you live.

But did you know this: Mowing the yard stirs up grass pollens. Gardening puts you face-to-face with flowers, those wicked little pollen producers.

To avoid pollen:

  • Check the clock. Pollen counts are usually highest in the late morning and early afternoon.
  • When pollen counts are high, keep windows closed. Use air conditioning. Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Don't hang clothing or bed linens outside to dry; pollen can adhere to fabric.
  • Get help with yard work. Get someone to mow the lawn, so you won't be exposed to so much grass pollen.
  • If you simply can't avoid yard work, wear an inexpensive face mask. Take a shower afterward, and change your clothing.
  • Avoid being around freshly cut grass whenever possible.
  • Keep car windows and vents closed; use air conditioning.

Mold

Damp areas like basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are where you can find mold. Outside, there are plenty more havens for mold.

To avoid mold:

  • Don't rake leaves. That stirs up mold spores, which you might inhale.
  • Steer clear of grass, leaf, hay, mulch piles, and compost heaps.
  • Avoid other damp areas like basements, garages, crawl spaces, and barns.
  • Stay indoors during rainy or windy days, when mold spores are likely to be airborne.
  • Clean home surfaces (including bathroom tiles and shower curtains) with diluted bleach or bleach-based cleaning products.
  • Keep an incandescent light on a mold-prone area of your home.
  • Use a dehumidifier and ventilate high-humidity areas.
  • Don't hang clothes or bed linens outside to dry; mold spores can easily attach.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

blowing nose
Article
woman with sore throat
Article
 
lone star tick
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Article
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Assessment
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
Quiz