In spring, people rush out of doors. They jog. They stroll. They smell the
And ...They sneeze. Sometimes a lot.
People with spring allergies know the drill: The itchy, watery eyes, blocked
ears, and nasal congestion that can put a crimp in even the sunniest spring
“A lot of times you don’t sleep well at night,” says Giselle Mosnaim, MD,
professor of allergy and immunology at Rush University Medical Center in
Chicago. “And if you don’t sleep well at night, you can be tired and irritable
the next day.”
Allergic rhinitis affects 10% to
30% of adults and as many as 40% of children. People with hay fever, a type of
allergic rhinitis, are specifically sensitive to molds and pollen that spread
in the air during the various seasons.
If you are allergic to pollen, don’t despair. Experts say that your allergies
are quite treatable. Try the following tips:
1. Live by the Pollen Count
Before trying medications, see if making changes to your environment helps
your symptoms. For example, attempt to time your outdoor activities to when the
pollen count dips down the lowest.
“That varies, dependent on which pollen you’re talking about,” says Andy Nish,
MD, an allergist in Gainesville, Ga. So check your local weather report, which
often includes a pollen count.
In the spring, trees pollinate throughout the day, so there's no luck
there. Pollen from summer grasses is worst in the late afternoon and early
evening. During the fall, weed pollen tends to be most present in the late
morning or early afternoons, he says. The pollinating season lasts longer in
If you have allergies, you might feel like outdoor exercise detracts from your health more than it adds. Exercise is supposed to make you feel good. But if a quick jog or a bike ride leaves you wheezing, sneezing, and feeling miserable for hours afterwards, how healthy can it be?
But all of us -- allergic or not -- need to exercise regularly for our overall health. And the good news is that you can, even if you're exposed to outdoor allergens.
"People with allergies and asthma should be able to...
If you can’t avoid outdoor activities during peak pollen times, then try
wearing a mask if you’re cutting the lawn or doing garden work, suggests Rohit
Katial, MD, program director of allergy and immunology at National Jewish
Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colo. When you come back inside, change
your clothes if you are feeling symptomatic.
2. Filter the Air
To keep pollen out of your living space, close the windows in your home and
car. Run your air conditioning to filter the air. For people who have an
attic fan, don’t run it during the bothersome season, because the fan draws in
the pollen-filled outside air.
3. Make Your Pets Toe the Line
Make your pet an indoor pet or an outdoor pet – one or the other. Pets that
go in and out all day often track pollen into the house, Nish says.
4. Rinse Out Your Nose
Over-the-counter nasal salt water rinses may also help with allergy symptoms. A nasal rinse
“washes out stuff that’s deposited there and opens it up,” Katial says.