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Self-Care

Tips for Surviving Seasonal Allergies


Thanks to the El Nino effect, allergy sufferers can expect an even more difficult time with their allergies this year than normal; however, there are some easy-to-implement tips you can follow to help survive the allergy season.

Not only did El Nino's additional rain and warm temperatures last year keep trees well nurtured -- adding to the amount of pollen trees can be expected to release -- it also extended pollen production season by 20 percent, according to Dr. Donald Pulver, a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), an AAAAI certified pollen counter and a member of the AAAAI's Aerobiology Committee.

"As a consequence, trees should be well armed, and tree pollen bountiful," Pulver said.

Grass pollen also is expected to be present in liberal amounts this summer, he said.

Bad days for allergy sufferers: warm, windy and dry conditions, which create the perfect environment for the spread of pollen. But while rainy weather will decrease the amount of pollen in the air, it also promotes spore growth, causing an increase in symptoms for those allergic to mold, AAAAI noted.

To keep allergy symptoms in check, the AAAAI encourages you to see an allergist. In addition, it suggests:

  • Use an air conditioner and a dehumidifier to keep air clean, cool and dry.
  • Use large, waxy flowers like lilies and tulips to decorate your home. Their pollen is too heavy and sticky to enter the air and cause an allergic reaction.
  • If possible, stay indoors, especially between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are highest, and on windy days.
  • Keep the windows closed in your home and your car.
  • Avoid mowing and raking.
  • After spending time outdoors, remove shoes outside to avoid bringing pollen indoors. Change your clothes as soon as possible to avoid continued contact with accumulated pollen.
  • Shower after spending extended periods of time outdoors. It will remove built-up pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Do not hang clothing or sheets outside to dry. They will collect pollen and mold.

You can get pollen and mold level reports for your area three times each week by calling (800) 9-POLLEN, or by visiting the National Allergy Bureau's Web site, www.aaaai.org/NAB.

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing


© 2000 Health Resources Publishing