Tis the season for sneezin'- But you can breeze on through with these allergy tips
Don't let seasonal allergies hold you back from enjoying the outdoors! Follow these tips to prepare yourself for whatever pollen throws your way.
What's the forecast?
Before you head out the doors, check the weather forecast for the day. Make sure to pay particular attention to the wind and humidity. If it's dry, sunny, and windy out, it's a perfect storm to trigger your allergies. Pollen travels more easily under these conditions, so be prepared.
Check the pollen report
While you're checking out the weather, be sure to check the pollen forecast at the same time. If you know what pollen is most likely to trigger your allergies, figuring out when the season starts and checking the forecast accordingly will help you prevent flare ups. The forecast will tell you the most active allergens in your area and how prevalent they are for the day. We recommend checking out The Weather Network for the most accurate readings.
The weather outside is frightful, but you'll feel so delightful
If, on the other hand, the weather forecast predicts a rainy, cloudy and windless day, don't despair! This is the optimal time to avoid allergy triggers since pollen spread is minimal during these times. So grab your favorite umbrella and rain boots and embrace the day!
To minimize pollen exposure on those sunny windy days, make sure to wear sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim. This will reduce the amount of pollen that gets into your eyes and lower the change of triggering your allergies.
Speaking of water, one of the best ways to get rid of any excess pollen after being outdoors is washing it away. If you have chronic rhinitis cause by allergies, a sinus rinse can flush out any pollen stuck in your sinuses and help you breathe easier. Popular nasal irrigation methods such as the NetiPot are available in your local pharmacy. Make sure to always use products as directed by the manufacturer.
To help red and irritated eyes, use eye drops to help flush out any pollen. And to eliminate any pollen that may have stuck itself to your hair or skin, its a good idea to take a shower so the pollen doesn't concentrate on your pillow when you lie down and trigger your allergies more severely.
As a general rule, most pollen will rise in the morning and settle at night. As a result, pollen levels tend to be highest during the early morning and afternoon and a few hours after sunset, so its best to avoid being outdoors during these times. However, as most of Canada has experienced a late spring, tree pollen season and grass pollen season are overlapping. This means that if you experience grass allergies, you may want to avoid the afternoon as this is the time some grasses release their pollen. In general, its best plan any outdoor activity before sunrise or in the late afternoon to early evening to avoid pollen exposure.
Avoid yard work
Finally, a good reason to shirk your chores! Yard work such as mowing the lawn and leaf blowing can cause pollen that has settled on the ground to reenter the air and trigger your allergies. So leave this work for another day (or, if you really have to, make sure to wear a mask and goggles to avoid pollen entering your respiratory system.)
Prevent and treat
To prevent your flare-ups, certain allergy medications can be started in advance of allergy season (usually early March) to control your symptoms. Some medications are best taken just before heading outdoors. Nasal sprays can be effective as a back up medication in case of a flare up. In any event, make sure to consult with your healthcare professional to see what medications and routine will work best for you.
Don't let allergies hold you back from enjoying the weather. With a little bit of preparation, you too can enjoy the season without worry!