With Spring temperatures arriving this week, for many Long Islanders allergy season will be in full bloom.
That doesn't mean the sneezing and discomfort that comes with seasonal allergies has to be close at hand. With a bit of planning, effort and common sense, many people can limit their suffering during allergy season or perhaps even avoid it. For the most part, seasonal allergies are caused by airborne pollens very fine powder released by trees, grasses and weeds as they pollinate and fertilize other plants of the same kind. Molds in outdoor air can also contribute to seasonal allergies.
Allergy season generally begins in late winter or early spring and runs through late summer or early fall. As the season progresses, different types of pollens are present to trigger allergic reactions. Trees are generally the first to pollinate. Trees tend to be followed by the pollination of various grasses in late spring and summer. Weeds can pollinate at different times of the growing season, though the notorious ragweed prevalent in late summer and early fall.
April showers are great for washing away the pollen, but it can aggravate mold allergies. A great resource is pollen.com You can get a customized pollen report E-mailed to you daily.
There are five important things you can do to prevent or relieve symptoms during allergy season when pollen or mold counts are peaking:
1. Use over-the-counter antihistamines for relief. For some people, these drugs are very effective at reducing the classic symptoms of seasonal allergies, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and, occasionally, scratchy throat.
2. Keep your home's doors and windows closed. You can't completely seal off your home from the outside, but keeping doors and windows closed can help prevent pollens and outdoor molds from entering. When the weather turns nice in the spring and you're tempted to open windows to let in "fresh" air, it may be better to keep them closed and turn on your air conditioner.
3. Limit outdoor activity, particularly in the morning. Avoid being outdoors especially to exercise when pollen counts are high, or on windy days when pollen and molds are being blown about. In general, pollen counts are highest in the morning, usually from about 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
4. When traveling by car, keep the windows up. Closing your car windows helps keep out pollens, dust and mold.
5. Take a shower and change clothes. Pollen can collect on clothes and in your hair. So when you've been outside for any significant amount of time, shower and change into fresh clothes as soon as you get home.
And how do you know when it's time to see a doctor for allergies? When you've followed these five steps and you're still suffering.
How are you dealing with allergy season? Let us know on LongIsland.com Forum.