Whew! We made it through 2020, and a cold winter! Spring is in the air, along with all the delightful things that come with it—like allergens.
In many regions across the country, spring is the pollen season. Pollen is the yellow-colored, dusty particles released from trees, grass, and other plants in the spring. Pollen can travel through the air, and many people struggle with their body’s allergic reactions to it. Pollen can also irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Hay fever is the commonly used name for a pollen and mold spore allergy.
The most important step in preparing for spring allergies is to find out what your allergies are. Different allergens affect people in different ways—some people are much more sensitive to certain allergens than others. Make an appointment to discuss your allergies with your allergist or family doctor, who should be able to hone in on what allergens affect you the most. Your allergist will be able to prescribe antihistamines or administer allergy shots if needed. Steroid nasal sprays are also commonly prescribed before and during exposure to seasonal allergens. Certain over-the-counter medications may also be recommended for milder symptoms.
It can be hard to avoid all contact with allergens during pollen season; when it seems like every surface is covered in it. But there are a few measures you can take to think ahead and minimize your exposure to the allergen.
Be careful when mowing the lawn and working in your yard! Mold can develop underneath leaves, straw, and grass in your yard, which can be disturbed and released into the air. Be especially careful when raking, mowing, or removing leaves that have been sitting since the winter, or wet weather, as mold and pollen trapped underneath layers of the leaves can be released into the air. Wear a medical or yard work mask when working in these areas, to help avoid breathing in pollen and mold spores. Wear work gloves as well, and avoid touching your eyes and face until you have washed your hands.
Now is the time to take some simple steps to prepare for peak allergy season! Meet with your allergist to determine what medication and treatment work for you, and go ahead and stock up on masks for working outside! Doing so will help keep bad allergies from ruining your spring and summer.